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Globalfoundries taps Invecas for 14nm FinFET node race

Posted: 07 Nov 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:14nm? FinFET? process nodes?

Globalfoundries has partnered with Invecas, which will provide intellectual property cores and design services exclusively for its fabs, to become more competitive in the race to the 14nm FinFET node. The latter was formed with the merger of two small firms and a team of 15 former IBMers, all with experience mainly in planar processes.

Invecas will provide a soup-to-nuts service, licencing cores, designing and verifying IP, and developing software such as drivers for them. It was formed when SoCtronics bought Kool Chip Inc. Both design and IP firms had offices in India and Silicon Valley. Invecas hired a team of memory experts with some experience in FinFET design who had left IBM's operations in Burlington, Vt.

The company has more than 600 employees and a portfolio of IP, typically for 28nm and older process nodes. It includes 16Gbit/s SerDes and controllers for PCI Express Gen 2, USB 2.0, DDR, LCDs, and flash memories. The former IBMers bring expertise in memory compilers and TCAMs.

Invecas will support all three major EDA flows, but only for Globalfoundries' fabs. "We believe focusing on one partner will bring us more business than focusing on multiple foundries," Dasaradha Gude, chairman of Invecas and former chairman of SoCtronics, told EE Times.

The websites for SoCtronics and Kool Chip provide only a few details on their histories. SoCtronics did some physical design for a 40nm GPU for Advanced Micro Devices. Gude used to manage AMD's R&D centre in India. One of Kool Chip's top designers worked for 12 years at LSI, where he was a director of engineering, building switch chips.

Invecas is now boning up on Globalfoundries' 14nm FinFET process, for which it aims to develop logic libraries and interface IP. Developing "more and more IP differentiated and optimised for Globalfoundries puts us on a trajectory to close the gap" with rivals such as TSMC, said Subi Kengeri, vice president of global design solutions at the foundry.

The foundry's first 14nm FinFET process, called LPE, should be fully qualified in about three months. A version called LPP promising 10-15 per cent performance gains should follow quickly. Kengeri said process design kits for both versions are available.

Designers will have to cope with double-patterning techniques to make the fins. Whether or not chips need triple or quad patterning beyond that will vary based on the designs, he said.

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