Taiwanese foundry TSMC unveiled today it plans to deliver its 28nm process as a full node technology offering the option of both high-k metal gate (HKMG) and silicon oxynitride (SiON) material to support different customer applications and performance requirements. TSMC expects initial volume production of SiON-based 28LPT will start in the first quarter of 2010, these will be low-power high-performance chips for mobile applications. More advanced chips like GPUs will have to wait for the 28HP (high performance) process which is expected to enter production in the first half of 2010.
The 28nm node will be a full node in TSMC’s manufacturing-flexible 28nm family, so named because it is the only family of processes at these geometries to offer either a HKMG or SiON transistor option. Multiple customers are working with TSMC to develop 28nm product designs. These collaborations have matched the most appropriate transistor material with the desired speed, power, and cost requirements.
“Product differentiation, faster time-to-market and investment optimization are the three most important values TSMC delivers to our customers. In support of these values, we are developing this comprehensive 28nm technology family so that it offers choices, depending on the customer applications and performance requirements. ” said Jason Chen, vice president, Worldwide Sales and Marketing, TSMC.
The SiON-based 28LPT (low power / high performance) process, the family’s lowest total power and cost-effective technology, is expected to provide twice the gate density, up to 50% more speed or 30-50% lower power consumption than TSMCs’ 40LP technology. The 28LPT process is expected to go into initial production in the beginning of 2010 and support applications like cellular baseband, application processors, wireless connectivity, and portable consumer.
TSMC’s decision to build on proven SiON technology for the 28LPT process is driven by changing wireless and portable consumer application dynamics under unrelenting pressure for products to hit market windows. Consumers a few years ago, wanted low-leakage handsets that supported long battery life. Today’s consumers increasingly rely on their wireless devices for Internet browsing, video streaming, music, mobile TV, GPS navigation, along with traditional phone and texting services. Active usage power consumption is now a much larger factor in battery life. SiON gate technology, because of its smaller gate capacitance and therefore lower active power than HKMG, provides a solution with lower total power, cost, and risk for power-limited applications.
“Our customers are really looking for a high performance, low active power, and cost-effective technology to meet their market requirements for their portable consumer products.” said Dr. Mark Liu, senior vice president, Advanced Technology Business, TSMC.
The 28HP (high performance) process, TSMC’s first HKMG technology, will support performance-demanding applications such as CPU, graphic processors, and FPGAs with twice the gate density and over 30% higher speed than TSMC’s 40G process at similar power density. Going forward, the HKMG technology is very promising for device scaling at even smaller geometries beyond 28nm. The 28HP process is expected to enter initial production in the first half of 2010.
TSMC’s 28nm technologies are currently supported by alpha version design kits. The 28nm CyberShuttle™, a prototyping service, will begin near the end of 2008 and features competitive cycle time and frequency.
TSMC is working closely with customers and ecosystem partners to build a comprehensive design infrastructure based on the company’s recently unveiled Open Innovation Platform™ to fully utilize the power of the 28nm technology family for a broad range of differentiating products. The Open Innovation Platform™ is a platform for innovations, hosted by TSMC and open to TSMC customers and partners.