While our enthusiasm for process technology tends to be laser-focused on leading-edge nodes like Intel and GlobalFoundries' 14-nm FinFET technologies, not every chip demands the highest-performance digital logic possible. Pure-play fabs like GlobalFoundries offer a range of process tech to best accommodate customer designs, and the firm announced today that its 22FDX technology, or 22-nm fully-depleted silicon-on-insulator process, has cleared $2 billion of "client design win revenue" across more than 50 products.
As GlobalFoundries puts it, 22FDX can offer "FinFET-like performance and energy efficiency at a cost similar to 28-nm planar technologies." The foundry says the process is ideal for integrating logic and radio-frequency components on the same die, and it notes 22FDX transistors can be body-biased in software to flexibly manage trade-offs between performance and power consumption. 22FDX also starts with a silicon-on-insulator, or SoI, substrate rather than bulk silicon to improve its performance and power characteristics for the range of customer applications that GlobalFoundries is targeting.
Given those bona fides, it's no surprise that 22FDX has scored design wins among companies like Synaptics for voice and multimedia-crunching chips in Internet of Things devices. GloFo also cites satisfied 22FDX customers like SoC designer Rockchip, IoT cellular connectivity provider Riot Micro, driver assistance system provider Dream Chip, custom wireless and AI provider SingularityAIX, and more.
22FDX is just one in a family of related processes, too. GlobalFoundries is already preparing its next-generation silicon-on-insulator technology, called 12FDX, to deliver both area scaling and improved power efficiency or performance over 22FDX, depending on the customer's design goals. GloFo says 12FDX can deliver 15% higher performance or 50% lower power consumption over 22FDX while retaining the heterogeneous IP readiness, wide range of operating voltages, and flexible transistor biasing that characterize 22FDX today. Competing technologies like Intel's 22FFL promise to make low-power processes for integrating heterogeneous SoCs a hot space in the years to come as the IoT continues to grow.