Optimization Challenges For 10nm And 7nm


Optimization used to be a simple timing against area tradeoff but not anymore. As we go to each new node, the tradeoffs become more complicated involving additional aspects of the design that used to be dealt with in isolation. Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss these issues with Krishna Balachandran, director of product management for low-power products at [getentity id="22032" e... » read more

To 7nm And Beyond


Gary Patton, chief technology officer at [getentity id="22819" comment="GlobalFoundries"], and Thomas Caulfield, senior vice president and general manager of Fab 8, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss future directions in technology, including the next rev of FD-SOI, the future of Moore’s Law, and how some very public challenges will likely unfold. SE: What do you see as the... » 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

Interconnect Challenges Rising


Chipmakers are ramping up their 14nm finFET processes, with 10nm and 7nm slated to ship possibly later this year or next. At 10nm and beyond, IC vendors are determined to scale the two main parts of the [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFET"] structure—the transistor and interconnects. Generally, transistor scaling will remain challenging at advanced nodes. And on top of that, the interconnects ... » 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

7nm Fab Challenges


Leading-edge foundry vendors have made the challenging transition from traditional planar processes into the finFET transistor era. The first [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFETs"] were based on the 22nm node, and now the industry is ramping up 16nm/14nm technologies. Going forward, the question is how far the finFET can be scaled. In fact, 10nm finFETs from Samsung are expected to ramp by ye... » read more

Inside Process Technology


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the foundry business, memory, process technology, lithography and other topics with David Fried, chief technology officer at [getentity id="22210" e_name="Coventor"], a supplier of predictive modeling tools. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Chipmakers are ramping up 16nm/14nm finFETs today, with 10nm and 7nm finFETs just around... » read more

Thinking Outside The Chip


Intel will begin adding 2.5D and 3D packaging into its processors, following the lead set by IBM and AMD in recognizing that new packaging approaches are essential for improving performance and lowering power. This shift won't derail the semiconductor industry's efforts to the reach future process nodes or continually shrink features, but it does add context for other factors that in... » read more

How To Reduce Timing Closure Headaches


As chips have become more complex, timing closure has provided some of the most vexing challenges facing design engineers today. This step requires an increasing amount of time to complete and adds significantly to design costs and back-end schedule risks. Wire delay dominates transistor switching delay Building high-performance modern CPUs involves pipelining to achieve high frequencies. I... » 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

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