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Intel Corporation Message Board

  • semi_equip_junkie semi_equip_junkie Jan 2, 2013 11:40 PM Flag

    20nm planar node - “negative ROI.” ?

    As already posted 20nm litho cost is going to increase by 1.7 compared to 28nm.
    Good chance Apple could end up with a 20nm lemon -
    ASML made a new all time high - LRCX (one of the leader in double patterning up 7%) -
    "ARM chip analysts" are completely clueless when it comes to economics - Hans Mosemann is aprime example

    Many of the so-called fast-followers, such as Broadcom, Freescale, Marvell and LSI, are still on the fence. At a recent event, for example, a Marvell representative questioned the feasibility of the 20nm planar node, saying the technology has a “negative ROI.”

    Previously, foundries offered several different process derivatives at a given leading-edge node. But at 20nm, GlobalFoundries, Samsung and TSMC will offer only one leading-edge process, thereby providing customers with fewer choices.

    The 20nm planar node also brings some new and challenging technologies to the mix, such as double patterning and the introduction of a third layer of local interconnects called the middle-of-the-line. At 20nm planar, there is a performance boost over 28nm, but the transistor speeds slow down as operating voltage is reduced.

    IC makers that moved from 40nm to 28nm have experienced a 35% average increase in speed and a 40% power reduction, said Jack Sun, vice president of R&D and chief technology officer at TSMC. In comparison, IC vendors that will move from 28nm to 20nm planar are expected to see a 15% increase in speed and 20% less power, Sun said.

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    • Globalfoundries intends to have 14nm finfet in volume manufacturing in 2014, the same timescale as Intel has for introducing 14nm finfet manufacturing.

      In fact, GF's 14nm process may have smaller features than Intel's 14nm process because, says Mojy Chian senior vp at Globalfoundries, because "Intel's terminology doesn't typically correlate with the terminology used by the foundry industry. For instance Intel's 22nm in terms of the back-end metallisation is similar to the foundry industry's 28nm. The design rules and pitch for Intel's 22nm are very similar to those for foundries' 28nm processes."

      Jean-Marc Chery, CTO of STMicroelectronics points out that the drawn gate length on Intel's ˜22nm" process is actually 26nm.

      Furthermore Intel's triangular fins, which degrade the advantages of finfet processing could underperform GF's rectangular fins which optimise the finfet advantage.

      At the front of the GF 14nm finfet node will be mobile SOCs says Chian. GF has been working with ARM since 2009 to optimise its processes for ARM-based SOCs.

      At TSMC the first tape-out on its 16nm finfet process is expected at the end of next year. That test chip will be based on ARM's 64-bit V8 processor.

      Using an ARM processor to validate its 16-nm finfet process should give TSMC's ARM-based SOC customers great confidence.

      Asked about the effects of finfets on ARM-based SOCs, East replies: "There'ss no rocket science in what you get out of it. The question is does it deliver the benefits at an acceptable cost? You don't get something for nothing. How much does it cost to manufacture? How good is the yield? And that, of course, affects cost."

      And so on goes Intel beating its head against the wall to get into the low-margin mobile business.

      Recently Intel said it expected its Q4 gross margin to drop 6% from Q3's 63% to 57%. Shock, horror said the analysts

      But if Intel succeeds in the mobile business, its gross margin will drop a lot more than that.

      It's a funny old world.

      Sentiment: Strong Buy

    • Its becoming clear at some point the market will have to monetize Intel's HUGE fab advantage. The current Intel valuation is absurd.

    • If Apple chooses obsolete ARM fabrication technology, then you can be sure that Apple's competitors or those who want to be Apple's competitors will choose Intel's large and still growing fabrication superiority and lead. Intel wins either way...

      Sentiment: Strong Buy

    • Has TSMC demoed any prototype 20nm chips yet? If not, they won't be able to do it by the end of this year, and TSMC will be in big trouble.

      Intel has demonstrated 22 nm SOC's and it will only be ready in the 2nd half of 2013.

27.04+0.11(+0.41%)Apr 17 4:00 PMEDT

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