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Working 14nm chip on display

Posted: 03 Oct 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:14nm FinFET device? Samsung? processor?

Samsung qualified its 14nm process in February and has multiple customer chips in production in hopes of volume shipments by the end of the year. GlobalFoundries will qualify the process this year and provide volume production in early 2015.

The initial 14 LPE process targets early time-to-market products, delivering 20 per cent more performance, 35 per cent less power, and 15 per cent less area than a planar 20nm process. The two companies plan a follow-up LPP process that will sport 15 per cent better performance than LPE and an undetermined advantage in power.

By contrast, TSMC qualified its 16nm FinFET process late last year, and multiple customer chips now in development are using it. It expects a fivefold or bigger increase in the number of its 14nm designs in 2015.

A representative of UMC, TSMC's smaller rival in Taiwan, said early in the year that it is running test silicon in a 14 nm process with "early PDKs available." Its first customer product tape-outs are expected this year with a production ramp in 2015.

Analysts expect challenges in getting the 16/14 nm processes ready, since this process node is the first to use 3D transistors. Intel is at least four months behind its original plans for its 14nm process, one analyst said. It hopes its second-generation FinFET process will be in production in June.

"IBS is expecting foundry-fabless companies also will experience delays on FinFETs similar to Intel," said Handel Jones, chief executive of the market watcher International Business Strategies Inc. "Also, Intel has experience of FinFETs at 22nm, and foundry-fabless companies do not have same expertise." He called the Glofo/Samsung deal a win/win for the companies.

Both Samsung and GlobalFoundries use a single 14nm process development kit. They have also started to explore the possibility of collaborating beyond the process itself, developing common IP blocks and libraries for standard cells, compilers, and I/Os.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times

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