TOKYO NEC Electronics Corp. has started offering its CB-55L platform for cell-based ICs developed on its UX7LS 55-nm process technology.
NEC introduced high-k film in the volume production process. "We are preceding competitors by a half step," claimed Hiroshi Iguchi, vice president of NEC's 1st Systems Operations Unit.
NEC wants to expand sales of cell-based ICs from the current ¥75 billion (about $625 million) to ¥120 billion ($1 billion) by 2010 based on sales related to the CB-55L platform.
CB-55L is based on NEC Electronics' UX7LS CMOS process technology, which the company claims is the first 55-nm process to utilize a high-k dielectric. The introduction of the high-k dielectric would reduce leakage current to one-fourth and would improve total power consumption by 40 percent over the previous 90-nm generation introduced in 2002.
Power consumption for the CB-55 is 1.7 nano-watt/MHz/gate. The use of 55-nm process technology makes it possible to increase gate density by 230 percent, enabling 925,000 gates per square millimeter. The maximum number of gates that can be integrated on a chip is 100 million, and the maximum number of I/Os is 2,800. Power supply voltage is 1-1.2V internally and I/O at 1,8V, 2.5V and 3.3V. The maximum system frequency is 450 MHz with 1.2V power supply and 233 MHz with 1.0V supply.
NEC will drop the high-speed version and intends to cover middle and low power types with the CB-55L. "At present, we have no intention to develop the high-speed type. It accounts for just less than 10 percent of the total CB-90 sales. We want to concentrate on the low-power type aiming at portable devices," Iguchi said.
NEC will provide IP macros such as USB2.0, JPEG, DDR/DDR2 focusing on targeted applications such as digital cameras, camcorders and other battery-operated applications. It will also offer commodity IPs, including PLLs, A/D converters and D/A converters. The library will be available in March.
When NEC Electronics announced its UX7LS in November 2005, the company said immersion lithography technology would be used for critical processes. But Iguchi said CB-55L can still use dry process technology.