Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2011 - 12:34 PM |
Tagged: tape out, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, amd, 20nm

When then discussion turns to a chip taping out, we are referring to an obsolete practice where a chip would be designed on a large scale and then reduced through photolithography.  Originally, once a chip design was finalized on paper it went to the artwork stage where an engineer would literally tape out and glue the design to create a photomask which would allow light through in a variety of ways or utterly block it.  That light was focused to create a smaller version, which then was used to make an even smaller version ... until it was of a size to etch the physical components of the chip onto the wafer and with a bit of luck and a lot of skill you would end up with a chip that worked to the specs you expected.

You can't exactly do that anymore, as the current generation of chips coming out of GLOBALFOUNDRIES uses a 20nm process, smaller than even extreme UV wavelengths and the magnitude of size reduction would be insurmountable.  Thankfully there is CAD and many other more mature ways of creating chips than the old cut and paste method.  This puts AMD in a good position to transfer to a 20nm process in the future, smaller than Intel's 22nm process but lacking the Tri-Gate three dimensional transistors that Intel will be implementing.  Drop by The Inquirer for more.

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"CHIPSHOP Globalfoundaries has announced that it taped out a test chip using its 20nm process node.

Globalfoundaries, best known for being the main chip fab partner of AMD, has been working to get its 28nm and 20nm process nodes up and running. For Globalfoundaries and its customers - in particular, AMD - having a mature 20nm process is desirable to show it has possibilities for die-shrinkage in the near future."

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Source: The Inquirer