SAN JOSE, Calif. – Cost-per-transistor may rise at the 20- and 14-nm generations, Broadcom CEO Scott McGregor said during in the company’s annual analyst day here. Nevertheless, the company will “judiciously” drive more products to newer nodes next year as it rolls out its first LTE chips and gears up for a push into integrated applications processors.
Separately, Broadcom expects handsets using its near-field communications chips will ramp next year. TVs and set-tops using 4K x 2K displays and the new high-efficiency video codec (likely to be re-named MPEG-5) will be a big focus at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show, he added.
“Moore’s Law is going through an interesting phase,” said McGregor. “We use to have improvement in cost per transistor at every node, and at 28 nm it’s coming down, but in 20 or 14 nm it may even come up and that may be a shock for everyone."
Nevertheless, Broadcom expects to gain economic advantages by driving a greater percentage of products to leading nodes when they need it for lower power or higher density.
“We have been a generation or two behind others in the node we use, but we believe it makes sense to move closer to the leading edge,” McGregor said. “We won’t be the first in a process tech but we will get more competitive."
“When we went to 65 nm, we moved the whole product portfolio, but that won’t happen going forward,” said McGregor. “We will be judicious, 28 nm will have long life and some products won’t make sense to move maybe ever and that is very different from the past."
Broadcom expects to tape out 50 new SoCs in 2012. “This is the engine of Broadcom’s growth, a large part of what you get for spending $2 billion in R&D,” according to McGregor.
The margin per transistor may rise (compensating higher cost) if the power per transistor is lower. But even this scaling will be limited as well, by noise. 20 nm is already very small (anybody recall the electron mean free path?)
I attended and McGregor also said "20nm costing more will surprise market"
that is partly because Intel Marketing is talking different message
But I spoke to someone in Intel Procurement Group about why they are taping out LTE and RF mobile chips at TSMC 28nm. Intel guy said Intel's advanced internal nodes manufacturing (22 and 14nm) was not cost effective with foundry.
low cost mobile chips are going go stay at 28nm for industry and even Intel (using outside manufacturing)
100% correct. Intel's manufacturing for foundry and internal products only is viable due to cost for it's $100-1000 CPU and select high margin FPGA and ASICs.
Someday the analysis will understand Intel does not have a manufacturing advantage for cost sensitive mobile or foundry to Apple.
Take a look at wafer price projections (past and future)
Nvidia deeply unhappy with TSMC, claims 20nm essentially worthless
ASML stated just litho will be 1.7x for 20nm compared to 28nm
Implication for Intel's first 22nm Valley view (Atom SOC) will have somewhere in the neighborhood 30-40% higher cost than equal parts from Qualcomm (snapdragon) or nVidia (Tegra 4) fabricated parts in foundry 28LP or 28HPM
but bigger problem is TAM is moving to integrated apps and base band on single SOC.
Valley view not having on die integrated LTE base band makes it uninteresting to market
I look at it like this.
You can chip 28nm SOC with integrated application/base band processor now
or you can ship same transistor density chips in Intel's 22nm SOC in 2014 but only application processor
It should be clear why Intel is loosing in mobile and CEO is out.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.