More and more chip designers unsure about sub-10nm tech

Posted on Tuesday, September 04 2018 @ 14:22 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Last week, GlobalFoundries announced it halted its 7nm process development and would focus on enhacing its 14/12nm FinFET platform. DigiTimes reports sub-10nm process technology will likely turn a new leaf in chip industry evolution. Foundries that aren't at the cutting-edge are slowing down the transition due to the prohibitively high capex, and fabless chip designers are wondering whether the investment in sub-10nm chips will pay off.

The site notes both Qualcomm and MediaTek are planning to stick with 14/12nm solutions, and will not make the industry's first 7nm SoC:
Instead of developing the industry's first 7nm SoC chip, Qualcomm and MediaTek have both moved to enhance their upper mid-range offerings by rolling out respective new 14/12nm solutions, the sources noted. Questions have been raised about whether advancing to 7nm manufacturing node is necessary under the current circumstances, the sources said.

Both Qualcomm and MediaTek are believed to have postponed the launch of their 7nm chip solutions to 2019 from the previously-planned 2018, according to the sources. Nevertheless, the two major smartphone SoC providers may be racing to get their 5G solutions ready with respective first-generation 7nm chips, the sources said.
HiSilicon is making a 7nm next-gen SoC, and said it would spend at least $300 million to develop it.

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