Modern FinFET process technologies help to reduce power consumption of modern chips while increasing their clock-rate potential. Unfortunately, it is extremely expensive to design FinFET chips, which is why many chip developers cannot afford creation of new solutions. In a bid to help such companies to release new chips, GlobalFoundries is evaluating 22nm FD SOI process technology, which will be cheaper than FinFET, but will offer similar performance.
22nm fully-depleted silicon-on-insulator process technology guarantees high clock-rates as well as minimal power consumption in idle mode, something tremendously important for Internet-of-Things and wearable devices. From design cost perspective, 22nm FD-SOI is comparable to 28nm planar technology and is dramatically more affordable than 14nm FinFET process. GlobalFoundries hopes that 22nm FD-SOI provides performance comparable to that of FinFET technologies.
“We are evaluating an advanced node FD-SOI product offering, but we are not ready to disclose detailed plans at this time,” said Jason Gorss, a spokesman for GlobalFoundries. “We believe the right FD-SOI offering can enable significant customer value, especially in small-die, low-cost markets. FDSOI is gaining interest because it can approach FinFET-like performance, it has a cost per die comparable to 28poly/SiON, and it can be optimized with varying levels of performance and leakage to satisfy differentiated customer requirements. It also has low process complexity and significantly fewer mask layers than a FinFET process.”
At present it is unclear when GlobalFoundries will actually make its 22nm FD SOI fabrication process available to customers.
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KitGuru Says: It makes a lot of sense for GlobalFoundries to offer one more node to customers, who cannot afford FinFET designs. However, it is important for the contract maker to offer the new tech rather sooner than later because chip designers need to introduce new chips in a timely manner.