Leti has been working with IBM researchers in Albany, N.Y., and the
French SOI wafer maker Soitec to develop FDSOI technology. The deal with
ST-Ericsson gives the technology a platform for further scaling to 20
nm and lower, the Grenoble-based research institute said.
researchers attribute performance gains to smaller gate lengths at 22 nm
that reduce device parasitics. The resulting performance boost, along
with the use of a technique called back-gate biasing to reduce power
consumption, could provide device makers with “significant
differentiation” in the mobile market, ST’s Magarshack contended.
added that ST is now working with Globalfoundries to “enable the
ecosystem for FDSOI.” Ron Moore of chip IP vendor ARM added that the
next step will be extending the power-consumption benefits of the
process technology to servers and the rest of the mobile infrastructure.
noted that the current infrastructure works out to roughly one server
to deliver content to 600 smartphones. The number of servers needed to
support the millions of new, full-feature smartphones expected to be
sold around the world in the next few years would explode without
significant reductions in power consumption and performance gains, Moore
The partners acknowledged that their competition with
Intel for the next generation of mobile chips comes down to
demonstrating the ability to manufacture chips based on FDSOI technology
while reducing risks in the mobile market for device makers. While
Intel’s FinFET approach is not expected to enter production until the
chip giant rolls out its 14-nm process technology, FDSOI proponents said
they will be ready at 28 nm while continuing to scale to 20 nm.
supply chain will be there,” insisted Horacio Mendez, executive
director of SOI Industry Consortium, adding that it will take six to
nine months to ramp up to full production capacity. “The supply chain
[for FDSOI) is not an issue we need to be worried about,” he claimed.
the ST-Ericsson joint venture, however, the SOI consortium has little
to show so far in the way of customers among device makers. Mendez
conceded that FDSOI performance and power “data is the only thing that
convinces people.” He insisted that the group’s data will eventually
show that it can help manage device makers’ risk in the
hyper-competitive mobile market.
And you think the IBM alliance is the answer? IBM lost relevance as a process technology pace-setter at least a decade ago. Mobile chips tend to have slim margins, and the substrates required for FD-SOI are expensive, adding the equivalent of at least one metal layer to the overall price of a chip. I can see why Soitec is pushing this, but I am not aware of a single demonstrated benefit of FD-SOI, and several well documented downsides (self-heating, floating body effects).
Agree, This article talks about FDSOI as if Intel never compared this to FinFet or any other process technology options. FDSOI or SOI in general was known to semiconductor for long and its benefits and downsides are well documented. In fact if you ruled out the price/cost factor of SOI, there are other technologies which can deliver much better performance/power than SOI.
Since posting this comment, it's been pointed out to me that many people (JP Colinge, D.Flandre, researchers at Hitachi and many more...) did seminal work on fully-depleted/thin body transistors leveraging SOI. We think of this as new, but the industry's been quietly working on this for over 25 years!
Of course Intel looked at SOI...and Bohr even agrees that some will use SOI but based on Intel's evaluation they rejected it.
4/16/2012 7:29 PM EDT
Mark Bohr addresses SOI versus bulk
One on One with M. Bohr
"IBM lost relevance as a process technology pace-setter at least a decade ago."
10 years ago IBM screwed up big time pushing SOG (SiLK)in conjunction with copper interconnect.
UMC licensed the technology from IBM but dropped it because they figured out SiLK was not working.
And now gate first debacle - it's good for one node...
"While Intelís FinFET approach is not expected to enter production until the chip giant rolls out its 14-nm process technology" Isn't it true that Ivy Bridge is using 22nm Tri-Gate, and already in market?
A consortium for better mobile processor makes total sense. One of the many keys solution of reducing power consumption is by achieving complete integration. There may be more than 1 consortia formed due to competitive and political reasons. If it is acceptable to the industry, 1 is always better than multiple. Nonetheless, the industry and market will drive the direction.
An interesting comment from Moore,
"the current infrastructure works out to roughly one server to deliver content to 600 smartphones"
I believe it depends on the kind of server and memory capacity. In addition, the type of services will affect the number of smartphones, or in general, mobile devices a server can deal with. To my experience, a dual Xeon with 128GB of memory shall be able to deal with thousands of simultaneous connections. If Moore is talking about ARM based servers, I have no doubt improvement is necessary.
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