The leading edge of the chip market increasingly is divided over whether to move to finFETs or whether to stay at 28nm using different materials and potentially even advanced packaging. Decisions about which approach to take frequently boil down to performance, power, form factor, cost, and the maturity of the individual technologies. All of those can vary by market, by vendor and by process... » read more

Raise A Fence, Dig A Tunnel, Build A Bridge

There are three main options for chipmakers over the course of the next decade. Which option they choose depends upon their individual needs, talents, and how much and what kind of differentiation they believe will matter to them. The options roughly fall into three categories—fence, bridge or tunnel. The fence option Rather than changing anything, the entire ecosystem can stick to wha... » read more

FD-SOI Meets The IoT

Silicon-on-insulator manufacturing technology has been discussed for many years. IBM has used the partially depleted variation of SOI in its server products, but the fully depleted version has yet to find widespread adoption outside of mil/aero and automotive markets. That may change soon as applications in the Internet of Things ramp, given the requirements for ultra low power and low cost.... » read more

Time To Look At SOI Again

Chipmakers have the luxury of looking at several process options when developing chips at the 28nm node and beyond. Using bulk CMOS, for example, chipmakers can scale planar transistors down to 20nm. Then, at 20nm, planar runs out of gas due to the so-called short-channel effect. At that point, IC makers must migrate towards finFETs at 16nm/14nm and beyond. Another process option is fully... » read more

Shootout At 28nm

By Ed Sperling & Mark LaPedus Samsung, Soitec and STMicroelectronics are joining forces on 28nm FD-SOI, creating a showdown with TSMC and others over the best single-patterned processes and materials and raising questions about how quickly companies need to move to the finFET technology generation. The multi-source manufacturing collaboration agreement for fully depleted silicon-on-insulato... » read more

Power Moves Up To First Place

Virtually every presentation delivered about semiconductor design or manufacturing these days—and every end product specification that uses advanced technology—incorporates some reference to power and/or energy. It has emerged as the most persistent, most problematic, and certainly the most talked about issue from conception to marketplace adoption. And the conversation only grows louder... » read more

Foundry Arms Race Under Way

By Mark LaPedus A year ago, chipmakers were reeling from a severe shortage of 28nm foundry capacity, prompting foundries to ramp up their fabs at a staggering pace. At the time, foundries were unable to keep up with huge and unforeseen demand for mobile chips. The shortfall was also caused by low yields and the overall lack of installed 28nm capacity. Today, the 28nm crunch is largely ov... » read more

Dealing With Variability

By Barry Pangrle Process, voltage and temperature, a.k.a. PVT, are well known to designers who are working to complete “signoff” for their designs. In order for a design to be production-ready, it’s necessary to ensure that the design is going to yield parts at a sufficiently high percentage for profitability and that it will still operate within the expected variation of the process and... » read more

Does SOI matter to the designers using the chips?

By Adele Hars Much of the SOI vs. bulk discussion zeros right in on the manufacturing bottom line:  which is cheaper?   And absolutely, customers want the most cost-effective solution.  But the best of all possible worlds is if you can save them money and give them all the bells and whistles they're looking for, too, right? [caption id="attachment_150" align="alignleft" width="150" capti... » read more