IBM and a host of partners are working on a 28-nm semiconductor design that will offer improved performance, reduced feature designs and better battery life, all of which are important factors for the newest mobile and consumer electronics devices, including mobile Internet devices. The alliance, which has been working on 32-nm technologies, also is creating an easy migration path from 32-nm to 28-nm, enabling designers to create offerings on the 32-nm platform, and then easily move those designs to the 28-nm technology.
IBM and a number of partners are developing 28-nanometer
semiconductor technology aimed at mobile and consumer electronics
The IBM Joint Development Alliance-which includes Chartered
Semiconductor Manufacturing, Global Foundries, Infineon Technologies,
Samsung Electronics and STMicroelectronics-announced April 16 that they
are jointly developing a 28-nm, HKMG (high-k metal gate), low-power
CMOS processor technology.
The technology will result in processors that offer longer battery
life and higher performance than their 32-nm predecessors, all of which
is important to the raft of mobile devices-including the growing MID
(mobile Internet device) market.
"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 28-nm process
level," Gary Patton, vice president for IBM's Semiconductor R&D
Center, said in a statement.
The alliance has been working on 32-nm low-power processor
technologies, which officials with the partner companies say has given
them insight into what is needed to make the move to 28-nm.
With the migration path that the group is laying out, customers can
begin their designs now on the 32-nm platform, and then migrate to
28-nm with little disruption to their designs when that platform is
The alliance offered a 28-nm evaluation kit to early access clients
in December 2008, then a second evaluation kit to the general tech
industry in March. The 28-nm platform is expected in the first half of
Initial testing of the 28-nm chips-which is about half the size of a
45-nm chip-with early access clients and partners has indicated that
the 28-nm technology platform can offer performance improvements of up
to 40 percent, and reductions in power consumption of as much as 20
The high-k metal gate technology helps drive the reduction in size
and improvements in energy efficiency, according to alliance members.
The result is microchip designs with improved performance, reduced
feature sizes and low standby power, all of which are important to the
newest mobile computing devices.