Globalfoundries Showcases 14nm Roadmap For Mobile Devices

Ready to nerd out? Great. Globalfoundries has rolled out details surrounding its new FinFET transistor architecture, which is engineered specifically with mobile devices in mind. No real surprise, given that mobile is quite clearly the future. Desktops have already fallen behind laptops, and seems just a matter of time before tablets start making a serious dent in the laptop market -- at least for average, non-gaming consumers. Now, Globalfoundries is showcasing its 14nm-XM offering, which is said to be the industry's finest non-planar architecture.  The technology is expected to deliver a 40-60% improvement in battery life when compared to today's two-dimensional planar transistors at the 20nm node.

The 14nm-XM offering is based on a modular technology architecture that uses a 14nm FinFET device combined with elements of the company's 20nm-LPM process, which is well on its way to production. Technobabble abounds, but a bit more on the new platform is below, direct from the company.

"Many people don't realize that FinFETs build upon the same fundamental mobile driving force as today's HKMG technology," said G. Dan Hutcheson, CEO and Chairman of VLSI Research. "While HKMG was a significant innovation in leakage reduction, FinFETs are a great leap forward in this value proposition that clear the way for many years of advancements. But to fully extract the value of FinFET technology, a company needs to be in volume production of HKMG. GLOBALFOUNDRIES has a head start in this area with almost two years of high-volume manufacturing experience with HKMG."

Not All 3D Transistors are Created Equal

GLOBALFOUNDRIES has developed a new approach to technology definition that has resulted in a cost-effective and power-optimized FinFET technology that is ideally suited for the mobile SoC market. The 14nm-XM architecture strikes the ideal balance between performance and power consumption, while minimizing both die size and cost. At the same time, the technology has been architected for optimum manufacturability and ease of design, with a view to allowing designers to re-use much of their IP from previous generations. Additionally, consideration is given to SoC-level concerns beyond the transistor architecture, such as overall system-level performance and specific mobile applications needs.

Another critical aspect of delivering a fully SoC-optimized solution is the ability to leverage the entire ecosystem of industry expertise, from EDA and design solutions partners to providers of IP. FinFET technology comes with new considerations, especially for the design community. GLOBALFOUNDRIES' process R&D and technology architecture teams have been working closely with both internal design teams as well as design ecosystem partners to co-optimize the technology and design environments.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES recently announced a new multi-year agreement with ARM to jointly deliver optimized SoC solutions for ARM processor designs on FinFET process technologies. The companies have been collaborating for several years to jointly optimize ARM Cortex™-A series processors, and this agreement extends the prior efforts by driving production IP platforms that will promote rapid migration to three-dimensional FinFET transistor technology.