Customers’ clamor for 3D IC assembly capability and die with TSVs (through-silicon vias) has apparently gotten loud enough to cause a change of game plan for GLOBALFOUNDRIES, which announced today that it is spending “tens of millions of dollars” to add TSV-making capability to its production line at the company’s Fab 8 facility in Saratoga country, New York. In fact the announcement was of sufficient import for Subramani Kengeri—GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ head of Advanced Technology Architecture in the office of the CTO—to note today’s announcement in his morning keynote address at the GSA Silicon Summit at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. GLOBALFOUNDRIES will use the equipment to add TSVs to 28nm and 20nm die. The company expects that the first full-flow silicon with TSVs will start running at Fab 8 in Q3, 2012.
A personal note: After I left the GSA Silicon Summit meeting and walked downstairs in the Computer History Museum, I was startled to see a familiar workbench to my right near the stairs. The workbench belonged to my friend Jim Williams, who developed a huge number of application notes at National Semiconductor and then at Linear Technology. The workbench is covered with old, old instrumentation including a Tektronix curve tracer, an ancient HP signal generator, and a very early Data Precision digital voltmeter. It’s also littered with completed and partially completed analog breadboards artfully arranged to prevent people from “borrowing” Jim’s equipment. The workbench had to be carefully, completely enveloped in plastic film before making its journey from Linear Technology in Milpitas, California to become an exhibit at the Computer History Museum. The plastic wrap perfectly preserved the workbench’s natural chaotic state exactly as it was when Jim suddenly passed away last year. Seeing my good friend’s workbench and his vintage, beloved test equipment one last time did indeed bring a tear to my eye. It’s the last place I saw him alive, very shortly before he died.
We miss you Jim.