Ecosystem emerges around new mobile chip tech
7/11/2012 12:15 PM EDT
Manufacturing, supply chain are key
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.