Tag: 14nm

GlobalFoundries fabbed AMD’s first 14nm sample – probably Zen

Zen-DogGlobalFoundries has announced that it has successfully fabbed AMD’s first 14nm sample and we think it is a Zen chip.

The fab has produced its first 14nm FinFET LPP sample for AMD. The announcement is somewhat vague as GloFlo has not really explained what it means by successful.

It could mean that AMD has received working samples back from the fab which do not catch fire and work. This does not mean that they have got yields up to economic viability yet. However the message appears to be that the pair are making progress on bringing up 14nm manufacturing at GlobalFoundries ahead of mass production in 2016.

The sample chips were fabbed on 14nm Low Power Plus (LPP), which is Samsung’s and GlobalFoundries’ second-generation 14nm FinFET design. It is a refined process designed to offer roughly 10 percent  better performance than earlier designs.

AMD has taped out several 14LPP designs for GlobalFondries and its future largely depends on Zen.  To be fair AMD is refusing to say what chip was successfully fabbed but given that it is GloFlo it is likely to be a CPU/APU and the time line suggests it is an early Zen chip.

GlobalFoundries’ production plans call for their 14LPP process to enter the early ramp-up phase this quarter, with full-scale production starting in 2016. Similarly, in today’s announcement AMD reiterated that they will be releasing products in 2016 based on GlobalFoundries’ 14LPP process.

 

Intel makes 14nm ARM bits for Altera

Altera’s plan to use Intel’s 14 nm FinFET process look even stranger now that it has been revealed that the chip will use ARM’s 64-bit cores.

That means Intel will fabricate ARM cores starting in 2014 in the new high-end Altera Stratix 10 parts that use four ARM Cortex-A53 cores.

According to EETimes, The Stratix 10 devices, with their embedded DSPs and other logic, is Altera’s best performance parts to date. They will be aimed at apps from search engine accelerators to communications data plane processors and radar guidance and security processing.

However it puts Intel in the strange strategy of making its rival’s chips inside its own buildings something it probably didn’t plan on when it started to push its outsourcing plans.

The chip giant is experimenting with offering its leading-edge fab processes as foundry services to chip designers, Altera being one of its largest customers so far. .

However it will be interesting to see what happens when you mix ARM’s 64-t cores with Chipzilla’s leading-edge process and if anything catches fire.

Altera claims the Stratix 10 parts in Intel’s 14nm process will provide FPGA “performance over one gigahertz, two times the core performance of current high-end 28-nm FPGAs.”

Intel announces Bay Trail tablet CPU: Part One

Wednesday’s IDF Keynote started by asking the audience to stand for a moment of silence in remembrance of lives lost on 9-11 in 2001. From there, it was business as usual with product hype and promises of future success.

Intel seems to be spotlighting health. It opened with a feel-good video of Jack Andraka, child prodigy and biology whiz. Andraka is a high school sophomore who won the youth achievement Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in December 2012 for inventing a new method to detect a lethal form of pancreatic cancer.

From there, Intel moved into its theme of “The Internet of Things.” One thing that aroused curiosity was a dull white plastic wristband on every seat. It became an attention-getter later in the programme. In the meantime, everyone got a shot at the podium to talk about their pet project.

Doug Fisher, VP General Manager Software and Services Group, gave a few brief remarks, then introduced Dr. Herman Eul, VP General Manager Mobile and Communications Group. He started off with a video about MTV and Intel getting together to improve the audience’s experience because they do not really understand how wireless works, and what are its limitations.

 
Eul said the goal is to make the mobile platform smarter, the CPU more powerful, and the imaging performance better. He did a brief introduction of “Bay Trail,” the next-generation Atom Z3000 ,  focusing on it being used as a gaming platform. He showed that it is capable of running Windows – which is called heavy legacy software – or running Android OS, Apple OS, Chrome OS, or Linux OS. Bay Trail is a 64-bit processor, built using Intel’s Silvermont 22nm micro-architecture. There will be six variants of the chip available – with dual and quad-core configurations. Clock speeds will range from 1.8GHz to 2.4GHz.

Bay Trail’s Hardware and Software supports:  

  • Windows (32/64-bit) and/or Android and/or Chrome
  • Displays resolutions up to 2500 x 1600 (Retina display)
  • Dual independent displays
  • Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) technology
  • Up to 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM
  • USB 3, HDMI, Displayport, SD card, NFC, 4G, Wi-Fi, GPS
  • X 11, Open GL 3.0 graphics
  • Up to 13MP camera on the rear with Zero shutter lag, burst mode, digital video stabilization, 1080p recording at 60FPS and up to 2MP on the front.

Eul then brought Victoria Molina on stage, a fashion industry consultant and former executive for Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, and the Gap, who explained her virtual shopping experience application. They developed it using the Intel Android SDK in about a week  – but gave no information on the experience level of their programmers.

Molina said the most important part of this application is the fit map, an important factor in making the apparel attractive on the wearer, to attain a “cool” outcome. The application uses an avatar based around the person’s measurements, height and weight, and a facial photograph. The shopper goes out to the web site where they want to shop and chooses the clothing to virtually try on before purchasing. Next, the website pulls up sample clothing from their product lines.

After you build your ensemble of clothing, then you can adjust the clothing so the fit is tight, medium, or loose. After deciding on your look, you go through the “Cat Walk” show-n-tell process. That means the avatar is dressed with each one of the outfits in the size and drape you want and it looks like you are a model on a fashion show runway. Molina said, “This will revolutionise the online shopping experience. Because of the huge “cool factor”.

Next, Intel focused on a Bay Trail small-form-factor tablet running and editing videos. Eul invited Jerry Shen, chief executive of Asus, to introduce its T100, a 2-in-1 Bay Trail notebook with over ten hours of battery life. “We are very excited about the Bay Trail quad-core promise,” Shen said.

Asus is more optimistic than Intel regarding battery longevity. Intel claims Bay Trail tablets could weigh as little 14.1 ounces and offer more than eight hours of battery life when the users are watching high-definition video.

Neil Hand, Dell’s VP of Tablets, showed its  Venue 8-inch, Windows 8.1, Bay Trail tablet that is going to be shipping soon. He said it has 4G LTE.
 
Eul talked briefly about upcoming Merryfield, a 22nm SoC which is build on the Silvermont architecture specifically for smartphones. We were told that Airmont, a 14nm process engineering SoC with all the features of Bay Trail for tablets, is on schedule for Q3 2014 release.

Finally, Eul satisfied our curiosity by showing his audio DJ idea which activated those dull white plastic bracelets that were sitting on each chair. A video was projected onto the giant screens in the auditorium showing the Keynote audience and the wristbands lighting up in synch with Eul’s music.

The presentation took another turn with Kirk Skaugen, Senior VP General Manager PC Client Group at Intel which will be covered in part two.

Intel's usual troops missing from IDF stage

For Tuesday morning’s keynote presentation at IDF-SF 2013, there were none of the usual Intel standard bearers. New CEO, Brian Krzanich, did a major part of the presentation along with Renée James, Intel’s President.

Before the presentation started, one of the old guard, Mooly Eden was spotted standing in the aisle way wearing his signature cap.

Also sitting in the audience’s VIP seats was former Intel CTO Justin Rattner. Rattner retired in June of this year and we missed his imitations of TV’s Mister Wizard.

CEO Krzanich gave his overview of the “new and improved” Intel. Krzanich laid out Intel’s vision and described how Intel is refocusing – away from its traditional CPU centric design philosophy to a system centric solution based around SoCs (system-on-a-chip) and broader integration.

Intel’s foundry capabilities were touted as reducing the die size to 20nm which is now shipping, with 14nm in the works. This will allow wearable computers. The obvious ones are smart watches – Intel’s engineering sample is many generations behind the competition in looks. The not-so-obvious areas they’ll address will be in the healthcare industry.

Krzanich said: “Innovation and industry transformation are happening more rapidly than ever before, which play to Intel’s strengths. We have the manufacturing technology leadership and architectural tools in place to push further into lower power regimes. We plan to shape and lead in all areas of computing.”

He continued: “Intel plans to lead in every segment of technology from the traditional to the emerging. Intel will continue with its data center revolution/evolution by increasing the computing power and lowering the kilowatts used in the rack space.” Krzanich stated that “the traditional PC is in the process of reinventing itself” with most notably tablets and 2-in-1 PC platforms.

The CEO said that Intel is introducing this week “Bay Trail,” Intel’s first 22nm SoC for mobile devices. “Bay Trail” is based on the company’s new low-power, high-performance Silvermont microarchitecture, which will power a range of Android and Windows designs.

[Remember Intel’s commitment to Wimax?-Ed]

Krzanich showed the first Intel phone with the 22nm SoC with Intel data LTE and voice 3G. He claimed that “by next year you will see LTE data and LTE voice in the same phone”. Then, he showed a demonstration of LTE Advanced. LTE advanced will have carrier activation switching from 30Mbps (Megabits per second) to 70 Mbps. He said the San Diego group is working on this. Could this be Qualcomm?

Krzanich announced the Intel Quark processor family. The new lower-power products will extend Intel’s reach to growing segments from the industrial Internet-of-Things to wearable computing. It is designed for applications where lower power and size take priority over higher performance.

The tablet marketplace is a key ingredient for the atom processor family. “The Hallway tablet systems price point will go below $100 by Q4 2013,” Krzanich said. 

However, the ARM and MIPS based 7-inch tablets have been there for over a year with good quality graphics, wi-fi, and reasonable gaming performance. Intel has some hurdles to jump over to gain a bigger chunk of that marketplace.

Renée James, Intel’s President, talked about the company’s involvement in the healthcare world and wearables.

Referring to health care as it relates to technology, she gave an example: “one person’s complete genomic data is approximately 1 PB, or 25 filing cabinets of information”.

“Genomic data cost for one person was in the hundred thousand dollar range less than four years ago,” James said. “Soon it will be in the $1000 range, which makes it plausible for use as a cancer fighting tool.”

James introduced Eric, an Intel employee who for over 20 years has been fighting cancer.

Eric came up and told his story about having his genomic data sequenced and taking that data to his doctors. About a month after they had the data they had a meeting with all his doctors including the East Coast doctors on Skype.

Eric said by having his genomic data, the doctors figured out that over the 20 year period of time, 90 percent of those drugs they had given for his cancer treatment could not work for him.

The doctors created a new set of drugs specifically typed for his genome, and in less than 90 days, he was completely cancer free and has remained cancer free. Understandably, Eric received resounding round of applause from the audience.

When one can see directly how technology impacts one person’s life in the extreme, we are all glad to be in this industry. 

Intel attempts to re-invent itself

For yesterday’s “keynote” presentation at IDF-SF 2013, there were none of the usual Intel standard bearers. Intel’s newly hatched CEO, Brian Krzanich, did a major part of the presentation along with Renée James, Intel’s President.

Before the presentation started, one of the old guard, Mooly Eden  was spotted standing in the aisle way wearing his signature cap.

Also sitting in the audience’s VIP seats was former Intel CTO Justin Rattner. Rattner retired in June of this year and we missed his imitations of TV’s Mister Wizard.

CEO Krzanich gave his overview of the “new and improved” Intel. Krzanich laid out Intel’s vision and described how Intel is refocusing – away from their traditional CPU centric design philosophy to a system centric solution based around SoCs (system-on-a-chip) and broader integration.

Intel’s foundry capabilities were touted as reducing the die size to 20 nm which is now shipping with 14 nm is in the works. This will allow wearable computers. The obvious ones are smart watches – Intel’s engineering sample is many generations behind the competition in looks. The not-so-obvious areas they’ll address will be in the healthcare industry.

Krzanich said: “Innovation and industry transformation are happening more rapidly than ever before, which play to Intel’s strengths. We have the manufacturing technology leadership and architectural tools in place to push further into lower power regimes. We plan to shape and lead in all areas of computing.”  There you go.

He said, “Intel plans to lead in every segment of technology from the traditional to the emerging. Intel will continue with its data centre revolution/evolution by increasing the computing power and lowering the kilowatts used in the rack space.” Krzanich stated that “the traditional PC is in the process of reinventing itself” with most notably tablets and 2-in-1 PC platforms. See?

The CEO said that Intel is introducing this week “Bay Trail,” Intel’s first 22nm SoC for mobile devices. “Bay Trail” is based on the company’s low-power, high-performance Silvermont microarchitecture, which will power a range of Android and Windows designs.

Krzanich showed the first Intel phone with the 22 nm SoC with Intel data LTE and voice 3G. He claimed that “by next year you will see LTE data and LTE voice in the same phone”. Then, he showed a demonstration of LTE Advanced. LTE advanced will have carrier activation switching from 30Mbps (Megabits per second) to 70 Mbps. He said the San Diego group is working on this. Could this be QUALCOMM?

Krzanich announced the Intel Quark processor family. The lower-power products will extend Intel’s reach to growing segments from the industrial Internet-of-Fangs to wearable computing. It is designed for applications where lower power and size take priority over higher performance.

The tablet marketplace is a key ingredient for the atom processor family. Krzanich said, “the Hallway tablet systems price point will go below $100 by Q4 2013.” However, the ARM and MIPS based 7-inch tablets have been there for over a year with good quality graphics, WiFi, and reasonable gaming performance. Intel has some hurdles to jump over to gain a bigger chunk of that marketplace.

Renée James, Intel’s President, talked about its involvement in the healthcare world and wearables. Referring to health care as it relates to technology, she gave an example “one person’s complete genomic data is approximately 1 PB, or 25 filing cabinets of information”. She said, “genomic data cost for one person was in the hundred thousand dollar range less than four years ago. Soon it will be in the $1,000 range, which makes it plausible for use as a cancer fighting tool.”

James introduced Eric, an Intel employee who for over 20 years has been fighting cancer. Eric came up and told his story about having his genomic data sequenced and taking that data to his doctors. About a month after they had the data they had a meeting with all his doctors including the East Coast doctors on Skype. Eric said by having his genomic data, the doctors figured out that over the 20 year period of time, 90 percent of those drugs they had given for his cancer treatment could not work for him. The doctors created a new set of drugs specifically typed for his genome, and in less than 90 days, he was completely cancer free and has remained cancer free. Understandably, Eric received resounding round of applause from the audience.

GloFo speeds up move to 14nm process

GlobalFoundries will be one of the first foundries to offer 14nm processors with customer tape outs in 2013.

GloFo has announced that it will start producing processors using 3D FinFET transistors with its 14nm-XM production, which it claims is optimised for mobile system-on-chip designs, with test production already underway.

Chips produced at this node will offer a 40-60 percent improvement in battery life compared to the two dimensional planar transistor being produced at 20nm by GloFo.  According to a statement, the chips will also incorporate elements of the 20nm LPM process.

GlobalFoundries’ relatively early date for 14nm production is likely to be good news for ARM, with the chip design firm recently signing a multiyear deal for FinFET development.

Dipesh Patel, deputy general manager of the Physical IP Division at ARM, commented that FinFET would be integral to the next generation of mobile devices, while its partnership with GloFo would create a  “platform which is well-suited for SoCs based on the next generation of ARM processors and GPUs for the mobile market”.

Intel is expected to be the first to reach volume production at 14nm. It has been investing in 14 nm fabs at Oregon, Arizona and in Leixlip, Ireland, and is expected to reach volume production early 2014.

Intel Leixlip plant expansion could pave way for 450mm

Intel’s prospective expansion at its Leixlip site could be paving the way for a move to 450mm production.

Intel is about to get the nod for expansion to its Kildare plant soon, though intended 14nm production is only said to be going ahead at 300mm.

Future Horizons analyst Mike Bryant says that it is likely that Ireland will see the creation of Intel’s third 450mm, though it is unclear when Intel will begin moving to the advanced production method.

“If they perform this upgrade well then I think it’s reasonable to assume Ireland will be Intel’s third 450mm fab, probably in the 2020 timeframe,” he said. “The fab module will certainly be built large enough to handle 450mm equipment and I suspect the automation system will be dual-size capable.”

Given the significance of the investment to the Irish economy, apparently contributing around two percent to the national GDP, Bryan said he was “surprised” that the decision to go ahead with the plant had been recently delayed.  He claims that the plant is the “most important factory of any sort in Ireland”.

Intel told us that any upgrades to 450mm will not be part of the initial upgrade to the Leixlip facility, with any changes coming later in the decade.

“We expect 450mm wafer production to be ready for the second half of this decade,” a spokesperson said, adding that “the renewed investment in our Ireland fab operations will be sooner than that”.

Samsung to build $1.9 billion logic chip plant

Samsung plans to spend $1.9 billion on a new chip plant in Korea. 

The plant will churn out mobile processors to meet growing demand for tablets and smartphones.

The new line will use 300mm wafer and 20nm and 14nm production technology, Reuters reports.

At the moment Samsung’s most advanced Exynos chips, like the Exynos 4 quad of Galaxy S III fame, rely on the 32nm process. Even the upcoming Exynos 5 dual, based on ARM’s next generation A15 core will stick to 32nm.

Samsung recently announced plans to construct a massive NAND plant in mainland China, at a purported cost of between $3.4 and $4.2 billion.

 

Intel gets 14nm ICs in its labs

Chipzilla boffins have emerged from their smoke filled labs claiming to have created another monster and defied God and common decency by making a 14nm IC.

Managing director for northern Europe Pat Bliemer told Nordic Hardware, that Intel has cracked the 14nm process producing ICs in its laboratories.

While this is a long way off from ever turning up under the bonnet of a gadget you might own, it does indicate that Intel is closer to the successor process generation to 22nm.

The 22nm is expected to be in the shops next year and Bliemer said that the discovery means Intel will have have the next generation after 22nm running. Intel boffins can now go ahead and produce 14nm products.

Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons was quoted by Electronics Weekly as saying that the announcement will be sending executives from AMD and GloFo rushing to the bogs to relieve the contents of their bowels, or words to that effect.

AMD and GloFo have still not quite got their heads around the 32/28nm node transition, and this announcement means that their technology is about three to four years behind Intel.

Penn said that such a state is really tricky for a chipmaker to recover from and AMD’s key foundry is on the ropes.

TSMC, which is still lagging Intel by a couple of years, or Samsung are AMD’s only hope right now. Although Samsung is also lagging behind TSMC in logic, thanks to being hamstrung by the Common Alliance technology mistakes, Penn said.

It is starting to look like the IBM club’s gate first approach at 28nm is looking pretty dumb. Bliemer himself puts Intel’s lead at one and a half nodes ahead of AMD. 

GlobalFoundries says quality 14nm around the corner

Like we reported earlier, Globalfoundries is pinning its hopes on HKMG – the beast it claims to have tamed – now and around the future, and it has plans for 20nm, 14nm and 450mm processes which are around the corner, but some are less around the corner than others.

Fab1 in Germany is running on 45nm and below, with claims from Glofo that it shipped more HKMG than any other foundry in the industry. Capacity is set to ramp up to 80,000 a month.  Fab 7 in Singapore goes from 130nm down to 40nm, and there will be additional 40nm capacity on the way. At the moment the overall capacity is 50,000 wafers per month. 

“My baby,” says Globalfoundries’ Norm Armour, “fab 8 in upstate New York is targeted for 28nm and below, the initial will be 32 SOI, followed shortly by 28m”, and the production ramp will begin in Summer 2012. The NY fab, which Glofo is claiming to  be “the world’s most advanced,” has an awful lot of cleanroom space – six American football fields worth, Armour says.

Again, those without sin did not cast the first stone, with Glofo calling out TSMC and UMC on their 300mm operations. Glofo says it’s close to a million wafers capacity overal in 300mm, which it claims is above the combined capacity of TSMC and UMC. 

Samsung and Globalfoundries’ joint announcement, which hit the wires first thing today, was not given much time. Probably around 5 minutes all-in, but Samsung did get a promo video out of it. 
Analysts claim the 450mm transition is going to be risky, but Globalfoundries says it is “inevitable”. It expects between 40-45,000 wafers a month.

Gregg Bartlett, technologies and development, reckons he has the coolest job in the company. He revealed to the room that Glofo’s HPC 20nm SHP will arrive in 2014. The 28nm will turn up in 2012. For the wired and networking segment, the 28nm HPP is around the corner in 2012, while 20nm LPM should arrive in 2013.

The new offering is 28nm LPH, Bartlett says, which he says fills a “critical gap” in the industry for customers after high performance in mobile but are also interested in decent power levels. Same with 20nm, but there’s a move towards a “single platform in both the mobile and networking space.”

Again, Globalfoundries took aim at rivals. The 20nm LPM beats the 20nm SOC of “a competing foundry” and “a CPU manufacturer’s” 22nm SOC in low power, mobile high performance, and high performance wired.

There was some talk of 14nm and beyond, with Bartlett mentioning FinFET. Like we said earlier, Globalfoundries is also interested in advanced packaging, source mask optimisation, and it isn’t going to ignore 3D entirely. Though at a press conference it claimed Intel should be careful about jumping the gun on less mature technologies, it eventually conceded that Intel will probably be able to get around the  challenges it may face. Glofo’s 3D innovation time line sees 2015 penned in for 3D IC packages.