Chip Dis-Integration


Just because something can be done does not always mean that it should be done. One segment of the semiconductor industry is learning the hard way that continued chip integration has a significant downside. At the same time, another another group has just started to see the benefits of consolidating functionality onto a single substrate. Companies that have been following Moore's Law and hav... » read more

Advanced Packaging Confusion


Advanced packaging is exploding in all directions. There are more chipmakers utilizing different packaging options, more options for the packages themselves, and a confusing array of descriptions and names being used for all of these. Several years ago, there were basically two options on the table, 3D-ICs and 2.5D. But as chipmakers began understanding the difficulty, cost and reduced benef... » read more

New Transistor Types Vs. Packaging


Plans are being formulated for the rollout of multiple types of gate-all-around FETs and literally dozens of advanced packaging options. The question now is which ones will achieve critical mass, because there aren't enough chips in the world to support all of them profitably. FinFETs, which were first introduced by Intel at 22nm, are running out of steam. While they will survive 10/7nm, and... » read more

200mm Fab Crunch


Growing demand for analog, MEMS and RF chips continues to cause acute shortages for both 200mm fab capacity and equipment, and it shows no sign of letting up. Today, 200mm fab capacity is tight with a similar situation projected for the second half of 2018 and perhaps well into 2019. In fact, 2018 will likely represent the third consecutive year that 200mm fab capacity will be tight. The sam... » read more

The Power Of De-Integration


The idea that more functionality can be added into a single chip, or even into a single system, is falling out of vogue. For an increasing number of applications, it's no longer considered the best option for boosting performance or lowering power, and it costs too much. Hooman Moshar, vice president of engineering at Broadcom, said in a keynote speech at Mentor's User2User conference this w... » read more

What’s Missing In EUV?


Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is expected to move into production at 7nm and/or 5nm, but as previously reported, there are some gaps in the arena. At one time, the power source was the big problem, but that appears to be solved in the near term. Now, a phenomenon called stochastic effects, or random variations, are the biggest challenge for EUV lithography. But at most events, th... » read more

RF SOI Wars Begin


Several foundries are expanding their fab capacities for RF SOI processes amid huge demand and shortages of this technology for smartphones. A number of foundries are increasing their 200mm RF SOI fab capacities to meet soaring demand. Then, GlobalFoundries, TowerJazz, TSMC and UMC are expanding or bringing up RF SOI processes in 300mm fabs in an apparent race to garner the first wave of RF ... » read more

Blog Review: May 9


Mentor's Doug Amos explains the differences (and similarities) between verification and validation, why switching between engines needs to be simpler, and why the limits of verification are driving a growth in validation importance. Synopsys' Melissa Kirschner provides a primer on 5G and the five technologies that will need to work in tandem to bring the promised high speeds and low latency.... » read more

The Case For Chiplets


Discussion about chiplets is growing as the cost of developing chips at 10/7nm and beyond passes well beyond the capabilities of many chipmakers. Estimates for developing 5nm chips (the equivalent 3nm for TSMC and Samsung) are well into the hundreds of millions of dollars just for the NRE costs alone. Masks costs will be in the double-digit millions of dollars even with EUV. And that's assum... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers Consumers recently filed a class-action suit against the three DRAM makers, alleging that they illegally agreed to raise prices for their respective memory products. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that Samsung, Micron and Hynix agreed to limit the supply of DRAM, driving up prices for this widely used memory. The pr... » read more

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