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Globalfoundries launches 14nm process node for SoCs

Expects tape-outs in 2013
Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:56

CHIP SHOP Globalfoundries has launched its 14nm process node that uses FinFET 3D transistors.

Intel stole a march on the industry with its 22nm Tri-gate process node, a subset of FinFET technology, however Globalfoundries is the first to announce a 14nm process node that uses 3D transistors to fab chips. The firm markets its 14nm process node as "extreme mobility" and is pitching it towards mobile system-on-chip (SoC) vendors.

Globalfoundries said its 14nm process node uses parts of its existing 20nm process node and fabs FinFETs that the firm tries very hard to say are not the same as the 3D transistors that Intel has marketed so cleverly in the past year. According to the company, its 14nm FinFET process node is particularly well suited to SoCs, exactly the type of chips vendors such as Qualcomm and Nvidia are trying to get TSMC to produce on its 28nm process node.

TSMC told The INQUIRER last week that it doesn't expect to meet demand on its 28nm process node until the end of 2013, and that leaves Qualcomm, which has already called out TSMC over its production capacity, few options for cutting edge process node technology. We have heard for some time that Globalfoundries could receive inquiries from disgruntled TSMC customers and the launch of the firm's 14nm process node, which is clearly pitched at SoC vendors, might trigger some interest.

Globalfoundries might have launched its 14nm process node but it is far from ready to churn out production chips. The firm said its Fab 8 in Saratoga County, New York is producing test silicon and customer tape-outs are expected in 2013, meaning that any major delays will give any advantage Globalfoundries might have gained back to TSMC. µ


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