SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Getting a jump on its rivals, IBM Corp.'s ''fab club'' and others have made good on their previous promises.
The group, including ARM, IBM, Samsung Electronics, GlobalFoundries and Synopsys, have announced the delivery of its 32-/28-nm process and design platform, based on high-k and metal gates.
IBM's ''fab club,'' which includes IBM, Samsung and GlobalFoundries, first announced the 32-nm process in 2008. Last year, the group announced the 28-nm process. The club jointly developed the process and high-k technology.
And last week, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. said its foundry business has qualified a 32-nm low-power process with high-k/metal-gate technology. The company lays claim to being the first foundry to ''qualify'' a high-k/metal-gate technology.
Samsung said the process has completed reliability testing at its 300-mm logic fabrication line in Giheung, South Korea and, is now ready for production of customer designs.
The 28-nm low-power process technology is slated to be ''factory-qualified'' at GlobalFoundries Inc. and Samsung in Q1 2011.
Samsung has taken the lead in commercializing the high-k/metal-gate technology. GlobalFoundries has stated its intention to skip the 32-nm node and move directly to 28-nm.
The overall 32-/28-nm solution also consists of physical IP from ARM and an EDA design flow from Synopsys. The platform leverages ARM's Cortex technology. It also makes use of Synopsys Lynx Design System, enabled by Galaxy and other EDA tools. This RTL-to-GDSII implementation solution reduces risk and total design costs for 32-/28-nm designs.
Most leading-edge chip makers had hoped to be using high-k dielectrics prior to now, but most have been unable to implement what has proven to be a difficult technology. The exception is Intel Corp., which has shipped 45- and 32-nm processors based on its gate-last, high-k technology.
IBM's ''fab club'' appears to be ahead of its Taiwan rivals. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., the market leader in silicon foundry business, is expected to introduce a high-performance high-k metal gate process at the end of September. By December, TSMC hopes to have available a high-performance/low-power 28-nm process with a high-k and metal gate.
Another foundry vendor, United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), is also devising the process with high-k.