This week at the Global Technology conference sponsored by GLOBALFOUNDRIES and its partners, Gregg Bartlett, Senior VP of Technology and Engineering at GLOBALFOUNDRIES, discussed the three flavors of the foundry’s 28nm IC manufacturing process. The 28nm-HPP (high-performance plus) process is optimized for maximum speed and targets wired networking applications. The 28nm-SLP (super low power) process provides medium performance with the fastest time to market. The middle-of-the-road 28nm-LPH (low-power-high-performance) process, an extension of the 28nm-SLP process, is for products that need both speed and low-power consumption such as in portable and wireless applications. Designs based on the 28nm-LPH process can incorporate “super-high”-Vt transistors to reduce leakage power, which also includes the availability of low-leakage SRAM IP and offers 1V overdrive to speed up transistors in critical paths at the expense of some power consumption.
The 28nm-SLP process is ready for designs now and design kits are available. The 28nm-HPP process will be ready early in 2012 as will the 28nm-LPH process. Going forward, Bartlett said that there would be only two 20nm processes, a low-power 20nm-LPM and a high-performance 20nm-SHP. The following graphic shows this evolution:
It was clear from Bartlett’s presentation that the 20nm-LPM is planned to be the mainstream 20nm process for high-volume applications. The 20nm-SHP process is intended for applications requiring extremely high performance with clock rates in excess of 4GHz.
For more analysis, see Richard Goering’s excellent blog “GTC: GLOBALFOUNDRIES Charts Course for 28nm, 20nm and Beyond”