7nm Power Issues And Solutions


Being able to achieve 35% speed improvement, 65% power reduction and 3.3X higher density makes adopting a 7nm process for your next system-on-chip (SoC) design seem like an easy decision. However, with $271 million in estimated total design cost and 500 man-years it would take to bring a mid-range 7nm SoC to production, companies need to carefully weigh the benefits against the cost of designin... » read more

Partitioning For Power


Examine any smartphone design today and most of the electronic circuitry is "off" most of the time. And regardless of how many processor cores are available, it's rare to use more than a couple of those cores at any point in time. The emphasis is shifting, though, as the mobility market flattens and other markets such as driver-assisted vehicles and IoT begin gaining traction. In a car, turn... » read more

Building Faster Chips


By Ed Sperling and Jeff Dorsch An explosion in IoT sensor data, the onset of deep learning and AI, and the commercial rollout of augmented and virtual reality are driving a renewed interest in performance as the key metric for semiconductor design. Throughout the past decade in which mobility/smartphone dominated chip design, power replaced performance as the top driver. Processors ha... » read more

RC Delay: Bottleneck To Scaling


R = resistance — the difficulty an electrical current has in passing through a conducting material. C = capacitance — the degree to which an insulating material holds a charge. RC delay = the delay in signal speed through the circuit wiring as a result of these two effects. RC delay is important because it can become a significant obstacle to continued downward scaling of logic and... » 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

Tech Talk: 14nm


Tamer Ragheb, digital design methodology technical lead at GlobalFoundries about what's changed with 14nm finFETs, including coloring with double patterning, new corners, Miller Effects, timing issues and variability. [youtube vid=Yk6jSKCtsjU] » read more

How To Deal With Electromigration


The replacement of aluminum with copper interconnect wiring, first demonstrated by IBM in 1997, brought the integrated circuit industry substantial improvements in both resistance to electromigration and line conductivity. Copper is both a better and more stable conductor than aluminum. Difficult though the transition was, it helped extend device scaling for another eighteen years (and counting... » read more