GLOBALFOUNDRIES goes 3D with 14nm FinFET transistors

Subject: General Tech | September 21, 2012 - 10:58 AM |
Tagged: 14nm, FinFET, 3d transistors, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, SoC

Intel was first out of the gate with their 3D transistors, which they dubbed Tri-gate and which the rest of the world refers to as FinFET as the normal 2D transistor is flipped on its side in a position reminiscent of a fin.  This leads to much more efficient power usage, perfect for mobile designs and needed as the transistor density at 14nm is going to be quite high.  GLOFO's 14nm eXtreme Mobility will work in conjunction with the current 20nm process used to fabricate SOCs and will be the basis of many lines of chips, such as ARM who have signed a multiyear contract with GLOFO.  Check out DigiTimes for more.

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"Globalfoundries has announced the launch of a new technology designed for the expanding mobile market. The new 14nm-XM offering will give customers the performance and power benefits of three-dimensional "FinFET" transistors with less risk and a faster time-to-market, helping the fabless ecosystem maintain its leadership in mobility while enabling a new generation of smart mobile devices, according to the foundry."

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Source: DigiTimes

A different kind of 3D transistor

Subject: General Tech | August 7, 2012 - 10:54 AM |
Tagged: trigate, 3d transistors

In case you were worried that Intel was the only one successfully researching and implementing 3D transistors, this research from Hokkaido University in Sapporo will cheer you up.  Whereas Intel went with 22nm process SOI high-K gates utilizing Hafnium, this process creates nanowires made of indium gallium arsenide at around 10nm, though the process does not necessarily translate directly.  NanoTechWeb's article mentions that some of these transistors have 6 edges, which if all could be successfully utilized means a doubling of density compared to Intel's design, though they do not mention what the thermal impact of the increased gate count would be.  It would seem that Intel is already aware and interested in this technology; for building CMOS chips as opposed to CPUs however.

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"Gate structures in silicon-based transistors will have to evolve in the future as these devices become ever smaller. Researchers in Japan have made an important advance in developing these next-generation architectures by successfully fabricating vertical transistors from semiconducting nanowires on a silicon substrate. The wires, made from indium gallium arsenide, are surrounded by 3D – rather than planar-shaped – gates and the finished devices have extremely good electronic properties."

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Source: NanoTechWeb

ARM, TSMC to Produce 64-bit Processors With 3D Transistors

Subject: Processors | July 24, 2012 - 09:07 AM |
Tagged: TSMC, ARMv8, arm, 64-bit, 3d transistors, 20nm

 

Yesterday ARM announced a multi-year partnership with fab TSMC to produce sub-20nm processors that utilize 3D FinFET transistors. The collaboration and data sharing between the two companies will allow the fabless ARM SoC company the ability to produce physical processors based on its designs and will allow TSMC a platform to further its process nodes and FinFET transistor technology. The first TSMC-produced processors will be based on the ARMv8 architecture and will be 64-bit compatible.

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The addition of 3D transistors will allow the ARM processors to be even more power efficient and suitable for both mobile devices. Alternatively, it could allow for higher clockspeeds at the same TDP ratings as current chips. The other big news is that the chips will be moving to a 64-bit compatible design, which is huge considering ARM processors have traditionally been 32-bit. By moving to 64-bit, ARM is positioning itself for server and workstation adoption, especially with the recent ARM-compatible Windows 8 build due to be released soon. Granted, ARM SoCs have a long way to go before taking market share from Intel and AMD in the desktop and server markets in a big way but it is slowly but surely becoming more competitive with the x86-64 giants.

TSMC’s R&D Vice President Cliff Hou stated that the collaboration between ARM and TSMC will allow TSMC to optimize its FinFET process to target “high speed, low voltage and low leakage.” ARM further qualified that the partnership would give ARM early access to the 3D transistor FinFET process that could help create advanced SoC designs and ramp up volume production.

I think this is a very positive move for ARM, and it should allow them to make much larger inroads into the higher-end computing markets and see higher adoption beyond mobile devices. On the other hand, it is going to depend on TSMC to keep up and get the process down. Considering the issues with creating enough 28nm silicon to meet demand for AMD and NVIDIA’s latest graphics cards, a sub-20nm process may be asking a lot. Here’s hoping that it’s a successful venture for both companies, however.

You can find more information in the full press release.

Source: Maximum PC