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28nm technology promises 40% more performance than 45nm tech

The IBM Technology Alliance -- including IBM, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd., GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Infineon Technologies, Samsung Electronics, Co., Ltd., and STMicroelectronics -- have announced that they have jointly defined and are developing a 28nm, high-K metal gate (HKMG), low power CMOS process technology.

IBM reports that the 28nm technology can provide power-performance and time-to-market advantages for makers of a variety of power-sensitive and consumer electronics devices like MIDs and smartphones. The new technology creates improved leakage characteristics that will optimize battery life for next-gen mobile devices.

The alliance has outlined a migration path from the current 32nm process that is being used to the new 28nm technology that requires no costly and time-consuming redesign of the components according to IBM.

IBM's Gary Patton said in a statement, "Through this collaboration, IBM and its alliance partners are helping to accelerate development of next-generation technology to achieve high-performance, energy-efficient chips at the 28nm process level, maintaining our focus on technology leadership for our clients and partners."

IBM says that early work with some clients has shown that the 28nm technology can provide a 40% performance improvement while saving up to 20% in power compared to 45nm technology devices. The HKMG implementation also makes for one of the industry's smallest SRAM cells reports IBM at only 0.120 square microns.

ST-Ericsson's Jorgen Lantto said, "This statement of commitment to 28nm low-power technology by the IBM Joint Development Alliance is an important progression from 32nm high-k metal gate technology. Leaders in the mobile industry can utilize 28nm low-power technology to meet the increasingly aggressive demands for performance and improved battery life."

IBM recently walked away from purchase talks with Sun after Sun's board balked at IBM offer.

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It's pretty amazing, really.
By TA152H on 4/17/2009 1:42:33 PM , Rating: 2
This shocks me in a way that even AMD having a superior processor to Intel during the Prescott days didn't. Back in those days, AMD had a mediocre to poor processor, and Intel had a dreadful one. In actuality, Intel always had the better processor, but they were only selling it for laptops.

But this, this is really shocking since it looks like they are not only very close to 32nm with Intel, but should be at 28nm while Intel is still at 32nm. They really caught up with them.

I don't think it will change so much the x86 world, since AMD has nothing but junk designs (consider the Phenom II has roughly the transistors and size as the i7, and then consider the performance) at the moment, but if this continues to the point where the Bulldozer comes out, and it's finally a decent processor (I know this is wishful, but it's still possible), it could present AMD with a good opportunity. Also, IBM POWER processors are going to be beastly, and this should have repercussions in the HPC world.

The one thing I thought was a given was that no one would catch, and possibly supersede Intel in manufacturing technology. Even Intel prides itself more on this than their designs (after the Prescott, I guess they had no choice).

Let's hope AMD doesn't blow the opportunity. Already the Bulldozer is late, so it's very possible. Manufacturing parity, or near parity, would be such a benefit to them, and, us.

RE: It's pretty amazing, really.
By Shadowself on 4/17/2009 2:20:05 PM , Rating: 2
While it is possible for AMD to use this half step process for its CPUS and such, it is much more likely this half step process will be used for graphics chips and certain very low power mobile chips as has historically been the case.

IBM and Intel have been leap frogging each other in process technology for a couple decades or more (shift from aluminum to copper, progression along various high-k processes, silicon on insulator processes, etc.) This time it is IBM's turn to jump slightly ahead with a finer process while Intel is expected to start full production quantities of CPUs in the 32 nm in calendar Q1 of 2010.

Will IBM maintain this lead and have the first 22 nm desktop/server CPUs? If the last two decades are any indication, the next round will go to Intel.

Once they get to 16 nm (quite possibly in 2014 or 2015) it is going to get really interesting from then on as the next jump, ~11 nm, will be pushing limits!

RE: It's pretty amazing, really.
By TA152H on 4/17/2009 2:39:07 PM , Rating: 2
Since AMD has been closely aligned with IBM, and they haven't even approached Intel in terms of manufacturing technology, I'm not sure where the leapfrogging happened. IBM is generally the only company that can even approach Intel, but, I still can't remember when they were ahead of them. Maybe they were, I'd be interested in that.

I agree completely with your assessment with graphics processors, but, also consider FUSION. That's got a CPU and seems perfect for this node. I'm not really so concerned about 28nm per se, since AMD doesn't have an acceptable processor design to really use it effectively anyway, but it's more that IBM has caught Intel, and when the Bulldozer comes out, that and state of the art manufacturing could combine to make a really good processor.

Also, maybe AMD will have to use 28nm for their processors, just so they have some sort of competitive advantage over Intel. I don't know if it's got better power use, or will allow them higher clock speeds, but it's almost certainly going to lower costs since they will be smaller. AMD having a lower performing design that is cheaper to make isn't so bad, the current situation where it's just as big and probably expensive (at least longer term), and performs much worse is a very bad situation. I really don't know, but it does give AMD some nice decisions to make.

By IntelUser2000 on 4/17/2009 9:35:05 PM , Rating: 2
Soo, lets see this again. Intel demonstrated their 32nm SRAM with 291Mbit capacity back in Sept 2007. And back in Feb of this year they demonstrated Clarkdale and Arrandale which will be a full production product.

How is IBM ahead again?

Truth is, they haven't really caught up. Like somebody said, IBM is good in labs, Intel is good with products that matter.

RE: It's pretty amazing, really.
By rudolphna on 4/17/2009 11:42:44 PM , Rating: 2
*freezes* I sense an intel fanboi in the area....

By IntelUser2000 on 4/19/2009 12:10:59 AM , Rating: 2
*freezes* I sense an intel fanboi in the area....

I don't care if I'm called a fanboy or whatever, but doesn't change the fact that in terms of actual products IBM was always a fluff. Don't you know back in 90nm IBM struggled and had to delay their process?

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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