28nm node: It’s not for everyone

By Debra Vogler, senior technical editor

May 2, 2011 — Mahesh Tirupattur, EVP at Analog Bits, and a moderator of the 28nm challenges panel at the Semico Summit (May 1-3, Paradise Valley, AZ), discusses the topic in a podcast interview.

Panelists will include speakers from the design customer, foundry, EDA tool, and high-end IP provider sectors. Discussion will be centered around how customers can design SoCs in 28nm and how can these devices be realized from a system perspective. Another topic for the panel will consider what it takes to migrate a design to 28nm and integrate "billions and trillions of transistors on a die and still make it energy efficient."

The stakes are much higher at 28nm — first-time silicon success equals time to market — just to recover the NRE investment, noted Tirupattur. The quality of all the IP components integrated on the IC have to work the first time.

The stakes are particularly impacted by much narrower market windows for many of the SoC designs. "28nm is not a node for all," said Tirupattur. "It’s one for certain high-volume, differentiated products." He cited early-adopter type products, such as the Apple iPad, that reflect the new reality of very tight and very short market windows. "The hardware [for an iPad] lives for one year — and you have a one-year ramp up and a market window to catch with your 28nm hardware, and you’re hitting multi-millions of units. It’s a daunting task to get it right," he said. "In the past, technologies have had longer life spans."

 Podcast with Mahesh Tirupattur


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