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To make 45nm process manufacturing easier: just add water

Intel has said on multiple occasions that its 45nm process is on track for production 2007. In fact, Intel began sampling its Penryn 45nm chips just several weeks ago. At the IEDM, IBM and AMD described three technologies that hope to compete with Intel’s 45nm development: the use of immersion lithography, which AMD says will “deliver enhanced microprocessor design definition and manufacturing consistency,” ultra-low-K interconnect dielectrics to enhance performance-per-watt ratio and multiple enhanced transistor strain techniques.

Current process technologies use conventional lithography, which has significant limitations in defining microprocessor designs beyond the 65nm process technology generation. Immersion lithography uses a projection lens filled with purified water as part of the step-and-repeat lithography -- think of the same principles applied to immersion microscopy.

Immersion lithography provides increased flow of light, depth of focus and improved image fidelity that can improve chip-level performance and manufacturing efficiency. For example, the performance of an SRAM cell shows improvements of approximately 15 percent due to this enhanced process capability, without resorting to more costly double-exposure techniques.

In addition, AMD and IBM say that the use of porous, ultra-low-K dielectrics reduces interconnect capacitance, wiring delay, as well as lowering power dissipation. This advance is enabled through the development of an ultra-low-K process integration that reduces the dielectric constant of the interconnect dielectric while maintaining the mechanical strength. The addition of ultra-low-K interconnect provides a 15 percent reduction in wiring-related delay as compared to conventional low-K dielectrics.

In spite of the increased packing density of the 45nm generation transistors, IBM and AMD demonstrated multiple enhanced transistor strain techniques that give an 80 per cent increase in p-channel transistor drive current and a 24 per cent increase in n-channel transistor drive current compared to unstrained transistors. The companies claim that their achievement results in the highest CMOS performance reported to date in a 45nm process technology.

In November 2005, AMD and IBM announced an extension of their joint development efforts until 2011 covering 32nm and 22nm process technology generations. AMD and IBM expect the first 45nm products using immersion lithography and ultra-low-K interconnect dielectrics to be available in mid-2008.

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Common Sense?
By cheetah2k on 12/13/2006 2:47:13 AM , Rating: 3
I would have thought it common sense to throw Intel into the deep end, have them develop 45nm and make the mistakes, before AMD jumped in. I think its good for AMD to take a step back and focus at the job at hand - 65nm and Quad.

At least AMD can also take Intel's fab tech onboard, spend more time developing it, and make a much better product.

Some times its not the speed that counts, its the quality

RE: Common Sense?
By ThisSpaceForRent on 12/13/2006 8:02:57 AM , Rating: 3
Quantity doesn't hurt either as shown by Intel's sales figures. You have to remember the one problem with quality is you're selling to a misinformed, mostly ignorant customer base. If I slapped a 10 Ghz sticker on something I could sell a million of them on QVC, because people just don't know any better.

RE: Common Sense?
By Shintai on 12/13/2006 8:54:34 AM , Rating: 2
There is just the tiny issue with production cost. Even if AMD could avoid all Intels mistakes. But looking on 65nm AMD is doing all the mistakes Intel didn´t.

You can roughly make 2 chips for the price of 1 with 45nm vs 65nm. And sicne the 80%+ is lowbin products, you could then have a 45nm thats worse than 65nm and still make a fortune on it. Just look on AMD, 65nm cant do highend speedbins like Intels, so you get the speedbins where the volume is.

RE: Common Sense?
By Goty on 12/13/2006 7:29:46 PM , Rating: 2
Remember the first 90nm A64s? They were slower as well. AMD likes to feel things out at the lower end and mature the process befoer attacking the high-end segments.

RE: Common Sense?
By masher2 on 12/13/2006 11:18:13 PM , Rating: 2
For good and simple reasons. The high-end segment has a higher profit margin...and is therefore less affected by manufacturing costs. The low end of the market segment is where pennies count the most, and where moving to a smaller process most affects the bottom line.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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