In this blog we focused on the other 90% of the designs that already recognized the end of Moore's Law. Those designs that do not command $1B market have given up scaling as the NRE contribution to the device cost would eat away any cost reduction that might be achieved by dimension scaling.
The blog was also trying to point out the paradigm shift in the semiconductor eco system that is already taking place as is evident by the action of fab equipment, EDA and IP.
Which bring us to the first comment about 450 mm which been push out - Why 450mm Will Be Pushed-Back Even Further, and Intel closure of Fab 42 and supporting the push out of 450 mm is itself admission that things had changed.
Intel is most certainly having battles within, and the proof will be in the cost of goods sold. The jury is still out. Can they stay competitive with the ARM competitors, AND, now that they are moving into the foundry business, can they stay cost/performance/power competitive? Will their 'new' packaging approach really pan-out, especially with cost/yield??
Product, system and design engineers will choose the lowest cost route that will accomplish their objective. It is indeed a great time to be in the semi industry as there are now, will increasingly be, more route options. Much of IoT/IoE will use the follower processes and nodes, as it will be 'good enough performance' (for now at least) at ultra-low power and will be cheap. There will be fewer and fewer, but still some significant users, of whatever is the most advanced highest performing technology out there. Intel is one of those who is still pushing the envelope in the traditional, brute force way...dimensional scaling.
3DIC, specifically monolithic 3DIC, looks like the technology that bridges the performance needs, low power constraints, and the low cost. CEA Leti is starting to show good numbers, and mobile product QUALCOMM has committed to monolithic for its future. I wouldn't be surprised if we see other major silicon consumers such as Apple follow suit soon. Also, there are a lot of interesting 3DIC/SOI/low-Vt papers in the IEEE S3S Conference Preliminary Program. The technology support is upon us. It will be a must see.
Moreover, m3D looks like it will also enable new architectures and system ideas, whether pure silicon based or heterogeneous...certainly an attraction for the entrepreneurial and the VC community. It is indeed a great time to be in the semi industry. We will no longer be driven by one or two 'leading' silicon vendors.
Ummmm 3D interconnection could give "one" node stop just to help some companies about costs. Still nobody can avoid the shrink, it could be delayed for a couple of years but it is inevitabile. Moreover we don't know the exact impact on costs of design and its times. Another variable is "heat" and its removal, not all devices can be successfully designed on 3D interconnection, high power cpus for example are not well suited at all for this approach, but i have the suspect that even high perf. SOCs may have serious problems to keep their speed performance in tiny devices with the Tskin trick.
I would make a distinction, stating that not all companies will benefit of these new stop gap solutions.
Zvi, Well researched article, as always. I like the term "Moore's Lag". Very catchy. You mention "Moore's Lag" will cause:
(1) Innovation into new technology and VCs will come back to invest in the industry.
(2) While (1) may happen, I think we should stay awake to the possibility that new technology like SOI and subthreshold and others will remain niche for many more years and even if used, will not provide the long-term benefits scaling used to. Net result: Semiconductor technology will get even more commoditized and differentiation will happen at higher levels (eg. at the system and application levels). The VCs will continue to stay away from new semiconductor stuff, both because of its commoditized nature and because of the huge amount of investment needed for adequately proving out any idea and making money off it.
Gondalf: Monolithic 3D can provide more than just one node of scaling. Both university and industry studies show it...the challenge has been how to make it. The upcoming S3S conference has some papers suggesting simple ways to get monolithic 3D. There is a good bit of cost savings too; the footprint is 25% of the original and the total silicon area is 50% when folding a logic design into two layers. Why? Mostly repeaters/buffer savings and transistor sizes....average wire length in the chip goes down. This blog goes thru some of the details (www.monolithic3d.com/3d-ic-edge1). And both layers are mono-crystalline silicon...with layer transfer the cost of the top layer mono-Si is amortized over the 10-20 times you use the donor wafer. Bottom line...it looks just like a node of scaling. Plus, designers/EDA now have another degree of freedom to exploit for compact and efficient architectures. Also, why not mix layers? Two logic layers (for logic redundancy), then one or more memory layers (maybe NV), then two more logic. Cool on both sides if needed.
Yes, 3DIC in general has to deal with improving the heat conduction. Heat removal is a matter of getting a high enough lateral and vertical conduction to a sufficient heat-sink to overcome the operational heat generation. This blog talks to this with reference to an IEDM2012 paper by Stanford (www.monolithic3d.com/blog/can-heat-be-removed-from-3d-ic-stacks) on how to do that. Lateral conduction for the monolithic 3DIC case is solved by rigorously using the Vss/Vdd network to move the heat laterally as if the 2nd layer 'substrate' is bulk Si, and the vertical conduction is taken care of by the high density of available vertical 'heat pipes' of monolithic 3D...10e6-10e8/cm2. The IEDM work ran both layers (substrate and monolithic 2nd layer) really hard and hot, and reasonable cooling was accomplished with the interlayer vias and power grids. The larger issue was getting sufficient heat sink capability...had to go to liquid cooling to get all the watts out of the stack.
At his EE Live! 2014 keynote, "Bunnie" Huang talked about how slowing Moore's Law helps small developers, especially Open Hardware teams. It used to be that by the time such a team succeeded in shipping a product, standard PCs would have leap-frogged them in performance. With Moore's Law slowing, small developers have a better chance to ship products while they are still relevant.
Here's an EE Times article with more detail: www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1321796
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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