Lower Power Plus Better Performance

The tradeoff between power and performance is becoming less about one versus the other, and more about a dual benefit, as new computing and chip architectures begin rolling out. Neural networking, which is one of the hot buttons for any system that relies on lots of distributed sensors, is essential to get a true picture of what is happening around a car moving down the highway at 65 miles ... » read more

The Real Value Of Digital Horsepower

Chipmakers and systems vendors are beginning to experiment with a slew of new ways to beef up performance and reduce power and area, now that shrinking features no longer guarantees those improvements. The number of new ideas introduced at industry conferences in the past few months is almost mind-boggling. Just on the CPU side there are new architectures that improve the amount of work that... » read more

May The Cheapest Memory Win

There are a number of new memory types on the horizon. So why are we still using DRAM, SRAM and hard disk drives developed decades ago? The answer is complicated. Memory, whether it’s on-chip static RAM cache or off-chip dynamic RAM—or flash storage or spinning magnetic media—is really a stack of data storage technologies that need to work seamlessly together and with other non-memory ... » read more

New Starting Point

Debate has been raging for years about whether software or hardware should be the starting point for improving power and performance, or whether it should elevated another notch by fusing hardware and software into a system-level approach. Now, groups like Leti, IEEE, SEMI, and a number of researchers in leading universities around the globe are beginning to talk about moving the starting point... » read more

Performance First

Crank up the clock speed. It takes a lot more performance to run virtual reality smoothly, or to process data in the cloud, or to stream a high-definition video from a drone. And none of that compares to the amount of performance required to kill an array of disturbingly realistic zombies on a mobile device in conjunction with other players scattered around the globe. After several years of ... » read more

No More Straight Lines

Shrinking features on a chip is no longer the only way forward, and in an increasing number of designs and markets, it is no longer the best way forward. Power and performance are generally better dealt with using different architectures and microarchitectures, and all of those provide the potential to reduce silicon area (cost). Cramming more transistors on a die and working around leakage... » read more

It’s All About DRAM

For decades, the starting point for compute architectures was the processor. In the future, it likely will be the DRAM architecture. Dynamic random access memory always has played a big role in computing. Since IBM's Robert Dennard invented DRAM back in 1966, it has become the gold standard for off-chip memory. It's fast, cheap, reliable, and at least until about 20nm, it has scaled quite n... » read more

Is 2.5D Cheaper?

For the past several years, as 2.5D was being tested, the most common response from chipmakers and tools vendors was that the interposer used to connect various die in a package was far too expensive. It was basically the same argument as mask costs are rising too high to continue building complex planar SoCs at 16/14nm, or that FD-SOI is more expensive than bulk silicon at 28nm. The critici... » read more

Will 3D-IC Work?

Advanced packaging is becoming real on every level, from fan-outs to advanced fan-outs, 2.5D, and 3D-ICs for memory. But just how far 3D and monolithic 3D will go isn't clear at this point. The reason is almost entirely due to heat. In a speech at SEMI's Integrated Strategy Symposium in January, Babek Sabi, Intel corporate VP and director of assembly and test technology development, warned t... » read more

Advanced Packaging Is Real. Now What?

For the past five years, it's been clear that 2.5D, fan-outs and other forms of system-in-package were on the horizon. Exactly when they would arrive no one knew. The most common prediction was that the timing would depend on when one of the big chipmakers decided to go down that route. The theory was that the remainder of the industry would follow, ecosystem issues would be sorted out—partic... » read more

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