Variation Spreads At 10/7nm


Variation between different manufacturing equipment is becoming increasingly troublesome as chipmakers push to 10/7nm and beyond. Process variation is a well-known phenomenon at advanced nodes. But some of that is actually due to variations in equipment—sometimes the exact same model from the same vendor. Normally this would fall well below the radar of the semiconductor industry. But as t... » read more

Tech Talk: Near-Threshold Power


Lauri Koskinen, CTO and founder of Minima Processor, and Ron Moore, vice president of marketing at ARM, talk about near-threshold computing, dynamic power and margining, and how these techniques can extend battery life and reduce energy consumption. https://youtu.be/BhiNFe4NYQU » read more

22nm Process War Begins


Many foundry customers at the 28nm node and above are developing new chips and are exploring the idea of migrating to 16nm/14nm and beyond. But for the most part, those companies are stuck because they can’t afford the soaring IC design costs at advanced nodes. Seeking to satisfy a potential gap in the market, [getentity id="22819" comment="GlobalFoundries"], [getentity id="22846" e_name="... » read more

The Future Of Memory


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss future memory with Frank Ferro, senior director of product management for memory and interface IP at Rambus; Marc Greenberg, director of product marketing at Synopsys; and Lisa Minwell, eSilicon's senior director of IP marketing. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. To view part 1, click here. Part 2 is here. SE: What’s the next big ... » read more

Modeling Semiconductor Process Variation


3D semiconductors, 3D NAND Flash, FinFETS and other advanced devices are bringing tremendous opportunities to the semiconductor industry. Unfortunately, these devices are also bringing new design, process and production problems. Process variability has been a major contributor to production delays as feature sizes have decreased and process complexity has increased. Virtual fabrication is a co... » read more

Transistor-Level Verification Returns


A few decades ago, all designers did transistor-level verification, but they were quite happy to say goodbye to it when standard cells provided isolation at the gate-level and libraries provided all of the detailed information required, such as timing. A few dedicated people continued to use the technology to provide those models and libraries and the most aggressive designs that wanted to stri... » read more

Rethinking Memory


Getting data in and out of memory is as important as the speed and efficiency of a processor, but for years design teams managed to skirt the issue because it was quicker, easier and less expensive to boost processor clock frequencies with a brute-force approach. That worked well enough prior to 90nm, and adding more cores at lower clock speeds filled the gap starting at 65nm. After that, th... » read more

Fab Issues At 7nm And 5nm


The race toward the 7nm logic node officially kicked off in July, when IBM Research, GlobalFoundries and Samsung jointly rolled out what the companies claim are the industry’s first 7nm test chips with functional transistors. They're not alone, of course. Intel and TSMC also are racing separately to develop 7nm technology. And in the R&D labs, chipmakers also are working on technologies f... » read more

10nm Fab Challenges


After a promising start in 2015, the semiconductor equipment industry is currently experiencing a slight lull. The pause is expected to be short-lived, however. Suppliers of [getkc id="208" comment="3D NAND"] devices are expected to add more fab capacity later this year. And about the same time, foundries are expected to order the first wave of high-volume production tools for 10nm. At 10nm... » read more

Predictive Fab Management


Managing variation requires a different approach in fab management, moving from reactive to predictive methodologies. This is easier said than done, however. Predictive fab management requires a much more detailed understanding of everything happening in the fab, including process variation, equipment variation, mix variation—all of which must be managed with dispatch strategies to produc... » read more

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