Thursday, November 18, 2010

To 22nm and Beyond!

I wish I had gone to the ARM Technology Conference. Lots of good design topics, and some long-range prognostication such as IBM Speaker Outlines Path to 22nm and Beyond. This blog post by Richard Goering of Cadence summarizes a talk by a VP of IBM's semiconductor research center. For 22nm, they main change appears to be more "lithography tricks". Richard includes a link about "double patterning".

Beyond 22nm, many things get exotic. Extreme UV (EUV) has been the next big lithography change for ages -- is it finally required for 15nm? FINFETS, Carbon Nanotubes, and Stacked Die, Oh My! We're not in Kansas any more.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

LSI Logic's 30th reunion!

Who's who at LSI Logic's 30th reunion gives a great synopsis of the pioneering company in the ASIC/EDA industry. To read the whole story, track down a copy of Silicon Destiny: The Story of Application Specific Integrated Circuits and Lsi Logic Corporation, by Rob Walker, one of the founders of LSI Logic. (I have an autographed edition!)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Intel Opens the Factory Door. A Little.

In the early 2000s, Intel dabbled in becoming an ASIC vendor. They eventually cancelled that business venture. Now we read that Intel, in a very controlled way, will be Making Advanced Chips for Third Parties. Advanced, as in 22nm!

But this is much more focused than a merchant ASIC business. FPGA itself is more like a Standard Product, with high volumes and lots of benefit from using advanced processes. Altera and Xilinx are the most leading-edge customers for the established foundries. It'll be interesting to see Intel's motives beyond just "further monetizing the fab".