IBM tips 45nm SOI process for foundry clients

Nov. 11, 208 – IBM now is offering a silicon-on-insulator offering for its 45nm foundry process, including design tools and libraries, following the 45nm ASIC SOI offering it released in mid-2007. In a related announcement, ARM said its physical IP library including standard cell, memory and I/O libraries are part of the package.

The main benefits of SOI is that in general it provides up to 30% performance boost and can reduce power consumption by up to 40% vs. bulk CMOS technology, the company noted. A company representative clarified to SST that the 45nm SOI foundry offering is currently for IBM customers only; however, “we welcome the opportunity of expanding it for the Common Platform” which includes key partners Chartered and Samsung.

“To date, two major barriers have inhibited the broad adoption of SOI as this alternative: foundry and IP library availability. With today’s announcements, ARM and IBM have together taken the first step toward breaking down these barriers and making SOI a viable alternative for many more applications in the networking, storage, communication and mobile spaces,” noted Joanne Itow, managing director, Semico Research Corp., in a statement.

IBM has long been a proponent of SOI technology; it first started shipping commercial SOI in the 1990s, and the 45nm offering is its sixth generation. Key markets include networking, storage, and consumer applications, notably gaming — the technology is now incorporated in all the major gaming platforms.

In related news, the SOI Consortium is holding its first general members’ forum on Nov. 11. The closing panel will discuss “SOI’s Future and the Foundry Business: What are the key ingredients for success,” with topics ranging from the design ecosystem, low-power markets, and remaining challenges to full SOI deployment in the fabless/foundry arena.


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