Chipmakers prep 45nm low-power process

August 29, 2006 – The technology alliance of IBM, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, Infineon Technologies, and Samsung Electronics Co. say they have developed silicon-functional circuits and design kits for 45nm low-power process technology, targeting use in next-generation communications systems.

Early results from the work indicate the 45nm device performance is at least 30% better than 65nm devices, according to Lisa Su, VP of semiconductor research and development at IBM and the head of the joint development alliance. The 45nm low-power process is expected to be installed and fully qualified at Chartered, IBM, and Samsung’s 300mm fabs by the end of 2007.

The chips, produced at IBM’s 300mm fab line in East Fishkill, NY, incorporate verified blocks including standard library cells and I/O elements provided by Infineon, as well as embedded memory developed by the alliance partners. Infineon also has included special circuitry to debug the complex process and to gain experience in product architecture interactions.

“The speed, innovation and completeness with which this first 45nm offering has been developed and made available to customers demonstrates the growing customer value and strength of the partnership between these four companies,” said IBM’s Su, adding that customers also will benefit from more flexible accessibility due to GDSII compatibility across the partners’ multiple manufacturing facilities.

Other firms are readying their 45nm plans. Earlier this month, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. and Renesas Technology Corp. entered full integration testing of 45nm system-on-chip (SoC) manufacturing technology, which will be used by both companies in manufacturing SoCs for mobile products and networked consumer electronics products. The process is scheduled to be completed in June 2007 and ramp to volume production in fiscal 2008.

In June, AMD said it is on track for 45nm volume production by mid-2008. Also in June, Texas Instruments said is prepping its 45nm process that can reduce power consumption by 40% and boost performance by 30%. The company also laid out options for future processes that can help improve power consumption without requiring a shift to incorporate high-k materials. And back in January, Intel Corp. touted its production of fully functional SRAM (static random access memory) chips using 45nm process technology, and said it is on track to manufacture 45nm chips in 2007.


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