bit-tech.net

Samsung tapes out first 14nm FinFET-based parts

Samsung tapes out first 14nm FinFET-based parts

Samsung has successfully taped out its first 14nm parts to feature FinFET technology, designed to dramatically cut power draw in future system-on-chip designs.

Samsung has announced the successful taping-out of the its first FinFET devices based on a 14nm lithographic process, in the continued drive to boost performance of mobile devices while dropping power draw.

FinFET - fin-based three-dimensional field effect transistors - are designed to improve performance and reduce current leakage at smaller process sizes by extending the transistor into the third dimension, turning the conductive channel on its side and surrounding it with a gate to control the flow of current. Intel has a similar technology, Tri-Gate Transistor, in its Ivy Bridge family of processors, and claims impressive gains by doing so: according to Intel's own figures, a tri-gate chip can reduce power draw by 50 per cent or boost performance by 37 per cent in the same thermal envelope when compared to two-dimensional planar transistor layouts.

So far, however, Intel has been alone in its adoption of the technology. Back in March, the Common Platform industry group - comprised of multiple semiconductor companies including Samsung, IBM and GlobalFoundries - announced that they wouldn't be implementing FinFET until the 14nm process node, at which point current leakage between devices becomes enough of a problem to make the technology a requirement.

In September, chip fab GlobalFoundries became the first Common Platform member to announced a 14nm FinFET process, combining 14nm FinFET transitors with traditional 20nm interconnects to create a hybrid design it could launch into the market ahead of the expected 2014-2015 timescale.

Now, Samsung is joining in the fun with its first 14nm FinFET tape-outs, using ARM's Cortex-A7 IP to create a system-on-chip (SoC) processor using the company's big.LITTLE design - a pairing of a low-power background processor with high-performance central processor, similar to the approach used by Nvidia on Tegra 3 and the upcoming Tegra 4 SoCs. Samsung has also announced FinFET-based static memory (SRAM) components, designed to draw significantly less power than their planar counterparts - close, the company claims, to the threshold voltage level.

Sadly, a tape-out does not a product make: while Samsung is proclaiming a process design kit (PDK) to be available to its customers, allowing them to begin the process of designing their own 14nm FinFET parts, the company has not provided a date for when mass production of 14nm-based FinFET SoCs will begin. That's hardly surprising, given that much of the SoC market is still working on a 28nm or larger process size, but with a process shrink combined with FinFET technology promising a significant drop in power requirements for future mobile devices, the technology can't come soon enough for consumers.

12 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
barny2767 21st December 2012, 12:32 Quote
Im hoping that since GlobalFoundries is involved in this AMD will be able to jump on FinFET and 14nm production before Intel realy gets its Tri-Gate in to production as this may give AMD the boost they need to put out low power or higher performance chips
jrs77 21st December 2012, 12:40 Quote
"Sadly, a tape-out does not a product make" should be "Sadly, a tape-out does not make a product".

Anyways, getting the chips smaller, resulting in less powerdraw is all nice and dandy, and I hope that the industry can keep their set goal of Q1 2014 for those 14nm-parts.

Unfortunately the real power-hungry parts - aka the GPUs - are still manufactured in 28nm and won't see a shrink that soon, if we believe all the chatter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by barny2767
Im hoping that since GlobalFoundries is involved in this AMD will be able to jump on FinFET and 14nm production before Intel realy gets its Tri-Gate in to production as this may give AMD the boost they need to put out low power or higher performance chips

intel - if all goes as planned - will start with their new plant in Arizona in Q3/Q4 2013. I don't think that AMD will be faster than this.
Alecto 21st December 2012, 13:25 Quote
"lithographic processor"

process perhaps ?
Alecto 21st December 2012, 13:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by barny2767
Im hoping that since GlobalFoundries is involved in this AMD will be able to jump on FinFET and 14nm production before Intel realy gets its Tri-Gate in to production as this may give AMD the boost they need to put out low power or higher performance chips


Dafuq ?! Intel has been using "TriGate transistors" in its Ivy Bridge and will be using them in the upcoming Haswell and onwards.
Gareth Halfacree 21st December 2012, 14:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
"Sadly, a tape-out does not a product make" should be "Sadly, a tape-out does not make a product".
No, it shouldn't: I wrote what I meant and I meant what I wrote.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alecto
"lithographic processor" process perhaps ?
That, on the other hand, was a mistake. Fixed, ta!
azazel1024 21st December 2012, 16:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alecto
Quote:
Originally Posted by barny2767
Im hoping that since GlobalFoundries is involved in this AMD will be able to jump on FinFET and 14nm production before Intel realy gets its Tri-Gate in to production as this may give AMD the boost they need to put out low power or higher performance chips


Dafuq ?! Intel has been using "TriGate transistors" in its Ivy Bridge and will be using them in the upcoming Haswell and onwards.

Exactly. Intel is looking at 14nm roughly sometime in early 2014. Unless the other fabs manage some serious catch-up work, they are going to be looking at late 2014 in to 2015 before they manage that.

Other than NAND, for processor transistors most have not gotten below 28nm yet and I really doubt they are going to skip a full node. Most are looking at transitioning to 20nm sometime in 2013 (probably late 2013 or early 2014).

General cadence industry wide is about 2-2 1/2 years per processing node shrink, Intel just happens to be roughly 18-30 months ahead of most everyone else with lithographic size.
greigaitken 21st December 2012, 18:21 Quote
and unless somebody comes up with 80bn, thats how it's gonna stay
technogiant 21st December 2012, 18:53 Quote
Well a smaller process size and trigate/finfet transistor architecture didn't really work out to be "all that" for Intel in the change from Sandybridge to Ivybridge. Only gave a 27% improvement in tdp from 98w for SB and 77w for IB at the same performance level not the quoted 50% improvement and that was not just due to the finfet design but also include a shrink to 22nm.
IB's thermals are poor...I don't think Intel have either their 22nm process or trigate design right yet.
rollo 21st December 2012, 23:19 Quote
14nm is at least a year away from intel more like 2 from anyone else.

Taped out does not mean its ready to go into full scale production, intel already has a working 14nm chip, will take at least 2 years from tapes out to full scale.

AMD can't just switch from tmsc they have long term contracts.
jrs77 21st December 2012, 23:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
No, it shouldn't: I wrote what I meant and I meant what I wrote.

Ah OK. Not a native speaker so it looked awkward to me :p
Skiddywinks 22nd December 2012, 11:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
No, it shouldn't: I wrote what I meant and I meant what I wrote.

Ah OK. Not a native speaker so it looked awkward to me :p

You are quite right that it does look weird, so it is good that you can spot things like that, but it is actually a semi-commonly used phrase.It's just bad luck on your part this time.
LightningPete 24th December 2012, 03:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
"Sadly, a tape-out does not a product make" should be "Sadly, a tape-out does not make a product".
No, it shouldn't: I wrote what I meant and I meant what I wrote.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alecto
"lithographic processor" process perhaps ?
That, on the other hand, was a mistake. Fixed, ta!

the first one, he was being Yoda ;)
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums