3D IC Supply Chain: Still Under Construction

By Barbara Jorgensen and Ed Sperling Stacked die, which promise high levels of integration, a tiny footprint, energy conservation and blinding speed, still have some big hurdles to overcome. Cost, packaging and manufacturability continue to make steady progress, with test chips being produced by all of the major foundries. But in a disaggregated ecosystem, the supply chain remains a big st... » read more

Chip Architect Challenges

By Ann Steffora Mutschler Product lifecycles can be shorter than the design cycle and even the process development cycle, particularly in the consumer handheld device market. It’s up to the chip architect to decide how the functions should be implemented. The good news is there are a number of options available, ranging from mapping the design to 2.5D technology, moving to finFET tr... » read more

Where Does It Hurt?

By Ed Sperling The IC design industry is feeling a new kind of pain—this one driven by uncertainty over architectural shifts, new ecosystem interactions and new ways to account for costs. As mainstream ICs move from 50/45/40nm to around 32/28/22nm, there are only two choices for design teams—continue shrinking features or stack dies. In many cases, the ultimate solution may be a combina... » read more

Who Owns What And Why

Who’s calling the shots these days—and how long they’ll continue calling the shots—is turning out to be as much conjecture as playing the futures exchange. There are so many changes underway that even engineers are crossing boundaries no one ever expected and ending up in companies outside of IC design or moving from seemingly far afield into the design world. Still, there are some c... » read more

All Indicators Point North

Designing and producing chips has always been difficult, but the number of things that conspire to make it harder at 20nm is the longest in the history of the semiconductor industry. The list will grow longer still at 14nm and beyond, not to mention so expensive that one mistake will kill a company. While system engineers and architects look at the challenges on the front end, the problems ... » read more

Options And Hurdles Come Into Focus For 3D Stacking

By Mark LaPedus The initial round of stacked 2.5D and 3D chips based on through-silicon vias (TSVs) has emerged in the market. There are other 2.5D/3D chips in the pipeline, but it’s taking longer than expected to bring these devices into production. There are a range of design, manufacturing, supply chain and cost challenges associated with 2.5D/3D designs. The enormous risk to bring ... » read more

2.5D Leverages Existing Tools On The Way To 3D

By Ann Steffora Mutschler As design and manufacturing issues with true 3D design continue to be worked out, interim 2.5D technologies are moving ahead as engineering teams leverage this packaging-driven approach to manage heat, cost, area and yield. Technologies such as Wide I/O memory support 2.5D, and when combined with logic they allow engineering teams to realize a performance increase,... » read more

Five Important Changes That Will Affect Power

By Ed Sperling So far most of the energy savings in SoCs have been achieved using two main approaches—turning off most of the chip most of the time, and changing the materials used to insulate against current leakage. Over the next few years, changes to designs will be more radical, encompass more pieces of a bigger system, and they will be orders of magnitude more effective. From a marke... » read more

Executive Briefing: 3D IC Stacking Challenges

Sonics CEO Grant Pierce sounds off on the challenges of stacking die, what has to change and why. [youtube vid=wCseVs738LQ] » read more

Business First

The move to stacked die poses some interesting technology challenges and promises significant technology benefits, but the real driver is business—and for this market to work, it has to continue being about business. In the past it was technology first, business last. We are now at the stage where it is business first, technology last. Re-use of entire die as subystems, better use of desig... » read more

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