PORTLAND, Ore. -- The first 45-nanometer chip to be designed by Texas Instruments, and fabricated by a foundry, uses new processing technology never before revealed by TI. The design details of the 45-nanometer process used to lower power by 63 percent and increase performance by 55 percent, compared with its 65-nanometer process, will be revealed Tuesday (Feb. 5) by TI at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference here.
Now that TI is sampling its first 3.5G baseband and multimedia processor using its 45-nm process, the company will reveal how strained silicon, immersion lithography and ultra-low K dielectrics enabled it to double the number of chips produced on each 45-nm silicon wafer, while simultaneously achieving its lower power and higher performance goals.
The 3.5G baseband processor is used by OEMs to create smaller, lower profile, portable 3.5G devices, such as mobile handsets, with advanced multimedia functionality--including high-definition video playback, longer video recording and multitasking--without reducing the battery life.
According to Uming Ko, TI Senior Fellow and director of TI's Wireless Chip Technology Center, TI's power and performance management technology, called SmartReflex (first introduced at the 90-nm node), has been upgraded for the 45-nm node with several proprietary technologies in addition to strained silicon, immersion lithography and ultra-low K dielectrics.
TI's 45-nm process is mixed signal, allowing both analog and digital devices to be integrated onto chips containing hundreds of millions CMOS transistors while maintaining a tiny footprint, enabling the 3.5G baseband processor to measure just 12-by-12 mm in its package.
The 3.5G baseband processor is based on three components, the ARM-11, the TMS320C55 DSP and the image signal processor, as well as all the necessary analog components required for mobile handsets, such as the radio-frequency (RF) codec. The high speed of the DSP will enable 3-D games to run using HD quality, while simultaneously permitting video conferencing among players. OEMs will also be able make longer HD video recordings, as well as extend both talk and stand-by-time on battery-operated devices, according to the company.
Ko claimed that TI's low-power, high-performance 45-nm process includes adaptive, dynamic voltage adjustment to match user demands to processor speed without the extra wafer-processing steps to create logic transistors with different threshold voltages, which has been necessary for previous generation chips. TI's 45-nm process also segments on-chip memory to lower its voltage requirements while simultaneously expanding its size, said Ko.
Ko also previewed new power-management tools for speeding up system-on-chip designs by automating register transfer language generation.