The need for chip foundry benchmarks

Posted on Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 15:32 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
EE Times wrote a piece about the need for good public benchmarks to compare semiconductor process technology from different foundries. As the author reports, these days foundries name their process based on their desired market position rather than hard metrics. Lower numbers are perceived as better but one company's 10nm process is not necessarily better than the 14nm node offered by another company. You can read the discussion over here.
Intel deserves praise for its recent decision to reveal metrics such as fin pitches and heights and minimum metal and gate pitches on its 10-nm node, which has not yet started production. These are the kinds of basic details that all foundries should supply when they first announce a new node.

However, such metrics and the transistor density that can be derived from them are only part of the story. If you can’t deliver transistors that support significantly higher speeds or lower power consumption, it doesn’t matter how many of them you can deliver.

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