Last April, we reported that GlobalFoundries had begun development of a 28-nm high-k metal gate manufacturing process in collaboration with IBM, Chartered, Infineon, Samsung, and STMicro. Now, the folks at SemiAccurate have snapped a photo of a 28-nm GlobalFoundries wafer that appears to contain more than mere test SRAM chips.
SemiAccurate reckons the "unlabeled" 28-nm wafer houses either microprocessor or graphics processor dies—that, or some "very advanced test structures." The chips look too big to be ARM processors, the site adds, but they could be system-on-a-chip devices with ARM cores inside. (Indeed, the foundry firm announced in October that it would collaborate with ARM on 28-nm SoCs featuring Cortex A9 processor cores.)
If GlobalFoundries has stuck to the time table it announced in April, it will start accepting 28-nm designs in the second half of this year and kick off production soon after. SemiAccurate thinks the schedule might be "overly cautious" in light of the wafer showing, though.