Sang Kim, I think you are quoting the cost of bare wafer which is far less than what it costs to fabricate. And for your reference 14nm FDSOI uses a Si thickness of 6nm. That's all you need for a gate length of about 20nm that fits the pitch and by the way is far less than what FinFETs are using. Even at 10nm you do not need to scale the gate length. All needed is self-aligned contact, a card Intel has already played at 22nm.
At the end Moore's low has nothing to do - at least to the first order - with the gate length. Regardless of transistor choice, whether bulk planar, FinFET, or FDSOI, each transistors need three contacts and routing metals. Pattering of those contacts and metal lines with enough design flexibility is what forced the industry to use multi- pattering (4 masks just for contact vias at 20nm). Soon we'll need up to 4 masks to print active regions, at least 3 to define gate, plus one more for each gate length, 5-6 for contacts, 2-4 for each via, and 3 for dense metals. FinFETs complexity just adds to the cost (both development and design). And its cost adder is by no means close to the 2% number that Mr Bohr quoted.
SHANGHAI, Jan. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation ("SMIC"，NYSE: SMI; SEHK: 981) , China's largest and most advanced semiconductor foundry, announced today that its 28nm technology has been process frozen and the company has successfully entered Multi Project Wafer (MPW) stage to support customer's requirements on both 28nm PolySiON (PS) and 28nm high-k dielectrics metal gate (HKMG) processes. Over 100 IPs from multiple third party IP partners as well as SMIC's internal IP team are prepared to serve various projects from worldwide design houses that have been showing interest in SMIC 28nm processes.
28nm process technologies primarily target mobile computing and consumer electronics related applications, such as Smartphone, Tablets, TV, Set-top Boxes and networking. It provides customers high performance application processors, cellular baseband, wireless connectivity etc. According to IHS' forecasts, the pure-play foundry revenue potential for 28nm will continue to rise with a CAGR of 19.4% from 2012 to 2017.
"I am pleased to announce the successful 28nm process milestone, which enables SMIC to better position itself in engaging and serving mobile computing related customers," said Dr. Tzu-Yin Chiu, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director of SMIC. "As the first foundry in mainland China to offer 28nm process technologies, this significant milestone demonstrates SMIC's continuous growing capabilities in offering leading foundry technologies to worldwide IC designers."
"The first SMIC 28nm MPW shuttle included both 28PS and 28HKMG related customer products for verification, which was already launched at the end of 2013 as planned," said Dr. Shiuh-Wuu Lee, Executive Vice President of Technology Development of SMIC. "By taking more MPW shuttles in 2014, we will continue to take more positive steps to strengthen and diversify our technology offerings and meet customers' growing demands on both advanced and differentiated technologies."
Currently ,cost at 22nm at intel is more expensive than 28nm(at least according to fpga compnies who sell such silicon).
Also intel will lose a lot of stock market value if it appears that moore's law is dead, since better manufacturing is their only or at least most of it's core value today in a world that is shifting to ARM.
Intel does have volume to help pay off, but still there are some mixed signals regarding 14 nm. It's the first node to have such signals, particularly from its former 14 nm designated fabs. Maybe not a wall, but more like an obstacle in the course.
This whole article and discussion is prettty menaingless without Intel. There is no "wall" for Intel at 28nm whatsoever. The problem is with the other foundries who do not have the capital needed for follow Intel not to mention to ecatch up with their 2 node advanatge in the foreseeable future. It seesm to me that for now Moor's law is alive and well at Intel, but not so much at TSMC, GloFo, STM, tec.
Moore's Law stopping at 28 nm will cause some shock waves in our industry but it is far from 'doom and gloom'. The collapse of number of vendors from 50 to less than 5 due to the escalating costs associated with dimension scaling was not a happy trend. Now we hopefully see the playing field get broaden again with growing number of vendors and growing diversified technology innovations.
Nothing except semiconductor based technology has gotten cheaper and better for so long a period of time. We have just gotten used to it.
If semiconductors start getting more expensive per transistor, innovation will have to take a new direction. Why does loading an OS take multiple GB of memory? Because memory is cheap and bloated software is the path of least resistance.
Never underestimate the ability of really smart people to figure out a way to make more from less - as long as there is money to be made in doing so...
Good point @tpfj...we need to add power dissipation to this consideration...so "faster, smaller, less power hungry and more expensive"...maybe addition of lower power tiltes some applications towards using less than 28nm processing
@krisi: I am not sure who will be willing to do faster, smaller and more expensive afterall
I'm not either.
We were already bumping into speed limits as paople trid to push CPUs faster. (There was an amusing series on a tech site as the editors successfully pushed a Pentium to 5ghz, using liquid nitrogen to cool it. It was a "Kids, don't try this at home!" story.) Aside from the technical challenges in pushing the chips faster, you had the parallel challenge of how to handle the heat faster CPUs generated.
Smaller still matters, and not just in handheld platforms like smartphones, with System On a Chip the promised land.
But the question is always "What will the customer pay for?"
The industry is already segmented, and there are "commodity" markets where price is the driver of the purchase decision and higher level niche markets where price is only one factor and more can be charged. (And an industry challenge is that everything eventually becomes a commodity.)
I'm sure there will be applications for that sort of technologies, and markets willing to pay what it will cost to produce. The question is whether the markets will be large enough to fund the R&D investments needed. You get your R&D funds from the revenues you get by selling products to your customers, and the size of your market and the total revenues you can generate will place hard caps on what you can devote to R&D.
The old Chinese curse is "May you live in interesting times". Well, we are.
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