Print 108 comment(s) - last by joset00.. on Dec 17 at 1:53 PM

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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AMD vs INTEL technology
By ChipDude on 12/13/2006 11:40:13 PM , Rating: 2
A few general comments on this annoucement and some considerable confusing among some of the posters here.

For those that somehow think AMD process is superior for leakage because of
the SOI marketing, they are wrong. Performance/leakage is a continuum of
points. If you compare INTEL vs. AMD/IBM for the same leakage INTEL is a
good 15-30% ahead. That yields either speed or power advantage at a
constant power or speed. AMD's apparent superiority has everything to do
with design tradeoff; shallower pipelining, clock gating, sleep modes.
Process sets the base technology capability. The design choices takes it to the next level. Pentium line was all about clock speed, not
performance/watt or performance/clock. Running PenitumIV on SOI or 45nm
will still have fundamental issues. There is nothing secret in design or
process here. Its all about choices made and what you are trying to
maximize; clock frequency, power, etc.

For those that are technically inclined visit IEDM and compare the AMD/IBM
vs INTEL technology drive current at same leakage, CV/I metric. INTEL
technology is the best in the industry. IN some ways that has been their
handicap. They have given their designers so much performance, capacity,
and high yield the designers were just good enough. AMD designers had to
revolutionize their approach with inferior technology. Since the INTEL
designers were just good enough they were catchable. It'll be interesting
to see with INTEL and IDC re-energized whether AMD can still compete with
their technology handicap.

For those that believe all this noise AMD is making on catching up, AMD
realizes this and has no choice but to say they will catch Intel at 45nm
node. INTEL has said it has fixed its design issue. If AMD doesn't say they will catch on the technology side their stock will be priced accordingly.
Time will tell who is walking the talk and who is all talk. I'll predict
the CEO that is behind in 2008 will get replaced or take early retirement.

In my opinion to catch at 45nm means AMD would have had to made key and critical choices last
year on technology to be ready in 2008. I highly doubt they were thinking
that last year when those decisions were required so I will expect some choices they made will not be correct or made on limited real data. Vendor data on tools and processes like immersion are highly suspect. Remember the tool vendor is trying to convince you to drop big bucks on a new tool and make money on the tool, upgrades, and service/support. If you are boring and order dry 193nm they make much less money. Of course Immersion is glamorous and exciting, makes good press, sounds exotic and the marketing monkeys lap it up.

Look at IBM, they are all about sizzle with little meat.
You only have to look at IBM's list of choices over the past few years to
see how their track record has been.

INTEL on the other hand only annouces technology that is real and in production. They did this at 130nm, 90nm, 65nm. No early noise or marketing stuff. I'll bet they made all the big decisions already at 45nm as they must stay on the two year cycle.

Someone commented that INTEL rushes technology. I find that humorous. You
don't rush a technology into 3 multi-billion fabs and ship 40-50million CPUs
within 1 year. If you don't have high yield, performance, and good
reliability you will ruin the company margins. Last I check INTEL margins
are very good even in this pricing enviroment. What is sure is if you are a
year or two late you will get upgraded steppers and later revisions of
hardware / software that help AMD and followers. If anything you'd ask why
is AMD ramp so slow with a year learning. They use all the same suppliers
as INTEL for tools. I'm sure INTEL tricks at the equipement level are all
shared and thus I'll speculuate either due to poor process choice and or bad execution, or no guts is why AMD is so slow at ramping 300mm and 65nm.

Much is being made about immersion. Is it not more signficant that INTEL
has claimed to found a trick to use tried and true dry lithography. No
messing with new stepper platform, new resists, new yield degradation modes.
Instead they probably have other tricks.

AMD/IBM annoucements are esentially incremental improvements and adoption of
INTEl inventions. I expect AMD/IBM 45nm to offer little performance for but
lots of die compaction and some capacitance reduction. If INTEL is
successful to deliver on their historical performance of 30% per generation
then AMD is in trouble.

RE: AMD vs INTEL technology
By JumpingJack on 12/15/2006 11:34:05 PM , Rating: 2
Whollly jimminy, Mary mother of God.... someone who lurks the enthusiast forum that knows the that data and makes the right conclusion!!

To see what he means, here is the summary data ---

Intel, irrefutably, has the superior process technology in the industry... node for node, Intel has always held this advantage.

Intel @130nm > AMD @130nm
Intel @90nm > AMD @90nm

And, as we are seeing...
Intel @65nm > AMD @65nm

I would not doubt the same will certainly be true for 45 nm....


RE: AMD vs INTEL technology
By joset00 on 12/16/2006 8:33:33 PM , Rating: 2
(OT), not to mention that:

1. Immersion Lithography is not mature, yet (and, AMD seems to have a lot of 'immature' techniques on the way...);

2. DSL helps... in IBM/AMD's SOI process; and costs a lot & adds delay to manufacturing, also;

3. 'Porous ultra-low-k dielectric interconnects' usually have this complex drawback: poor thermal conduction. Counter measures add up to production delay & overall costs.

Well done.


RE: AMD vs INTEL technology
By ChipDude on 12/17/2006 1:11:44 AM , Rating: 2
LOL; Ultra low K is like building the backend system with a house of cards. If you aren't carefuly your house of cards will collapse once you put your hot chip into a package.

I can only laugh at the last time IBM made all this noise about breakthru in LowK with SILK then to see what happenend to their poor customers.

DSL is very expensive, takes probably two extra litho layers, depositions and some etch or fancy selective implants. All expensive extra steps, yield degradation, and I can't wait to see the reverse engineering pictures of it in real production. Its funny that you see it in their papers but never in their products yet.

RE: AMD vs INTEL technology
By joset00 on 12/17/2006 1:53:10 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, the [actual] trend seems to go with high-k metal dielectrics and increased gate oxide thickness (tox), for leakage 'screening'; sometimes (and, this s appears to be the case, for some), one's led to confusion, on what concerns transistor process & interconnects; actually, IBM/AMD are addressing 'porous UL-k dielectrics' in interconnects, not in the gate oxide.
SOI is a promising technique, process-wise; however, the way it's being implemented right now, in chip's substrates, is way too costly, requires Dual-Stress Liners, spacers and it doesn't solve juction leakage.
Intel's aiming at using Fully-Depleted SOI, whenever it finds necessary; the most interesting of all is that Intel's achieving extraordinary results in its process manufacturing, stiking with 'plain old technology', namely, off-the-shelf bulk silicon & dry lithography, for instance. That, in itself, is quite an achievement! And, with that, it's gone down into the 65nm [mature] node without much hassles. Compared to IBM/AMD actual 90nm, yields are far higher & reliable (RAS), even with massive amounts of L2 cache.
In my opinion (and considering data available), AMD might really bring up significant increases in drive current, especially in pMOS... compared to its previous process, not Intel's. And, that still leaves power dissipation & leakage issues out of the equation...


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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