GlobalFoundries, IBM, Samsung, STMicro to sync up 28-nm manufacturing

Developing state of the art semiconductor manufacturing can get expensive. Really expensive. That might be why GlobalFoundries has partnered up with three other industry titans—IBM, Samsung, and STMicroelectronics—on 28-nm chip manufacturing.

This latest partnership entails "synchronizing" manufacturing facilities so that "chip designs can be produced at multiple sources in three different continents with no redesign required." Production will involve both bulk and high-k metal gate manufacturing processes at the 28-nm node. The first fab to "complete synchronization" will do so late this year, and mass production of actual products will come shortly thereafter.

Here’s the skinny about the new 28-nm technology itself, straight from the announcement:

The low-power, 28nm process technology is designed for the next generation of smart mobile devices, enabling designs with faster processing speeds, smaller feature sizes, low standby power and longer battery life. The 28nm process technology is slated to become the foundation for a new generation of portable electronics that are capable of handling streaming video, data, voice, social networking and mobile commerce applications.
The 28-nanometer chips will use bulk complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS), and high-k metal gate (HKMG) processes. Members of the alliance are driving the global standard for HKMG with their unique "Gate First" technology. The approach is superior to other HKMG solutions in both scalability and manufacturability, offering a smaller die size and compatibility with design elements and process flows from previous technology nodes.

GlobalFoundries is developing these manufacturing processes as part of the IBM Technology Alliance, which includes the aforementioned companies plus Infineon, Renesas, and Toshiba. Meanwhile, the Common Platform alliance, which brings together GlobalFoundries, IBM, and Samsung is working with ARM and Synopsys on a "comprehensive 32/28nm Systems-on-a-Chip (SoCs) design platform based on HKMG technology."

Comments closed
    • phez
    • 9 years ago

    28nm by next year? Just awesome.

    • Farting Bob
    • 9 years ago

    l[

      • cygnus1
      • 9 years ago

      there’s a hermaphrodite joke in there somewhere….

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    “Gate First” is bound to finish last.

    • adisor19
    • 9 years ago

    This is clear shot at Intel. ARM Cortex-A9 designs now have a viable 28nm process which should make them even more competitive with Atom and its future siblings.

    While Intel has won the desktop race, the smartphone race is officially ON !

    Adi

      • wira020
      • 9 years ago

      I didnt know the desktop race had already end?

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        Clearly it has – Intel has the performance crown with i7.

        Oh, and Adi says it ended with Intel winning because Apple is using Intel CPUs- clearly an undisputed validation of Intel winning the desktop race.

          • Anomymous Gerbil
          • 9 years ago

          Yes, because the “race” is purely about the fastest processor :-p

        • MadManOriginal
        • 9 years ago

        For certain people it ended when Apple chose to use Intel CPUs, although that was really a second ending because they’d use PPC before that. Of course if they switch to AMD CPUs then i[

    • glynor
    • 9 years ago

    q[< The 28nm process technology is slated to become the foundation for a new generation of portable electronics that are capable of handling streaming video, data, voice, social networking and mobile commerce applications.<]q This kind of PR-speak always makes me laugh. <snark>I must say, I am super-excited for the "new generation" of mobile devices that are capable of handling those things. Because the current generation can't do those things at all now.</snark>

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    q[< and compatibility with design elements and process flows from previous technology nodes<]q This is the most important phrase I got out of that PR statement. Graphcis cards are stuck on TSMC's lame 40nm node right now but there were plans for 32nm chips, if those can be moved easily to 28nm that's a good thing.

      • wira020
      • 9 years ago

      I thought they meant of how the device from past node can be used for next smaller node.. since right now, they need new machines/devices for smaller node which meant billions of investment for each shrink…

        • MadManOriginal
        • 9 years ago

        Well, yes, I was thinking of it in terms of the chips planned for the now cancelled 32nm node. If 40nm can easily be moved to 28nm that would be a bonus.

    • khands
    • 9 years ago

    Interesting, although I feel they sacrificing potential quality for ease of manufacturing, it seems short-sighted.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      Because TSMC winging it on their own at these more complex nodes worked out soooooo well.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      I think it makes sense… share the development costs, and figure out how to make everything match from fab to fab – major boost for capacity if a customer needs more than a given fab/company can offer.

      The only problem they have is the political pressure from almighty IBM to go with Gate First.

    • TheEmrys
    • 9 years ago

    I like it. Fewer problems with this process, the better.

    So does this leave TSMC and UMC out in the cold to try to sort it out themselves? This might have some GPU ramifications.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      The GPU ramifications are solved by moving to this alliance.

      But don’t count TSMC out yet… they have been in this business for a long time, and although they screwed up this time around, they’ll figure it out, and come back stronger.

      And don’t automatically assume that GF et al. won’t have any problems…

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