Linley Newsletter: August 9, 2018

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Linley Newsletter

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Issue #612

August 9, 2018


Independent Analysis of Microprocessors and the Semiconductor Industry

Editor: Tom R. Halfhill

Contributors: Linley Gwennap, Mike Demler, Bob Wheeler


In This Issue:

- Foundries Head to 5nm and Beyond

- Helio A-Series Targets Low End


The Linley Fall Processor Conference 2018

Register Now!

October 31 and November 1, 2018

Hyatt Regency Hotel, Santa Clara, California

FREE registration for qualified attendees starts now!

This two-day, partially dual-track conference features technical presentations on processors for communications, IoT, servers, and advanced automotive systems. This in-depth technical conference is the industry's premier processor event, and we expect several new announcements. In addition to more than 20 technical presentations by experts from industry-leading companies, the program will include a keynote session covering technology and market trends in processor design.

The Fall Processor Conference is our largest event and includes presentations on the latest processor chips, processor IP, and other technologies required to efficiently process packet, sensor, and vision data. It's for chip designers, system designers, equipment vendors, OEM/ODMs, service providers, press, and the financial community.

Sponsors: Synopsys, Arm, Micron, Rambus, Imagination Technologies, Netspeed Systems, Arteris-IP, Cadence, CEVA, Andes Technology, Inside Secure, SiFive, SecureRF, GlobalFoundries, NXP, Efinix, Mellanox Technologies, Wave Computing, AiMotive, Qualcomm, FlexLogix, and the MIPI Alliance.

Click here for more information:

http://www.linleygroup.com/events/event.php?num=45


Foundries Head to 5nm and Beyond

By Linley Gwennap

Moore's Law is dead; long live Moore's Law! Although new manufacturing nodes no longer offer the same economic and performance benefits they once did, the leading foundries continue to develop smaller and lower-power transistors for their most demanding customers. TSMC recently became the first chipmaker in production at 7nm, and it's poised to maintain its technology lead through 2020. But after a pause at 10nm, Samsung plans to regain the lead with a roadmap that extends to 3nm in 2021.

Reaching these new nodes will require more than just shrinking transistors. EUV will finally enter mass production in 2019, providing more-accurate patterning of the smallest features. At tiny diameters, copper interconnects become a bottleneck and are being replaced in some layers by cobalt. Adding germanium and III-IV materials could extend FinFETs to smaller processes. We expect new gate-all-around (GAA) transistors to debut at the 3nm node.

While TSMC and Samsung race to 7nm and beyond, Intel's manufacturing engine has stalled at 14nm. The company now expects its 10nm process, which is similar to the foundries' 7nm, to enter production in 2H19. This latest slip leaves Intel more than a year behind TSMC. GlobalFoundries now expects its 7nm technology to enter production in 2H19 as well, and it has yet to disclose a schedule for subsequent FinFET nodes.

Ongoing increases in lithography and other processing costs for the recent FinFET nodes provided little or no reduction in cost per transistor. We expect to see modest transistor-cost reduction at 7nm and 5nm, and the move to GAAFETs could make 3nm an expensive node. These gains will be far smaller than Moore predicted, making new nodes best suited to performance- and power-sensitive chip designs.

Microprocessor Report subscribers can access the full article:

http://www.linleygroup.com/mpr/article.php?id=12012

Helio A-Series Targets Low End

By Mike Demler

The Helio brand started as MediaTek's premium smartphone-processor line, but with the introduction of the A-series, it now covers all price tiers. The new Helio A22 integrates four Cortex-A53 CPUs running at up to 2.0GHz. The company manufactures it in TSMC's 12nm process, keeping pace with Qualcomm's recently released Snapdragon 429 -- an entry-level quad-core processor that employs the same technology. The A22 is already in production, and Xiaomi is using it in the low-cost Redmi 6A smartphone, which sells in India for 5,990 rupees (less than $90).

The A22 extends MediaTek's strategy of building processors that push high-end features into low price tiers. It cuts costs by using half as many CPUs as the Helio P22, which targets $150-$250 phones, but it has the same Imagination PowerVR GE8320 GPU. Other features the company is extending into entry-level phones include its Pump Express fast charging and Transmitting Antenna Switching (TAS) 2.0 technology.

The A-series processor carries other features over from the midrange and premium Helio P- and X-series chips, including dual Imagiq ISPs, Miravision display enhancement, and a built-in sensor hub. Although the A22 omits a dedicated neural-network accelerator, developers can use MediaTek's NeuroPilot SDK to run face recognition and image-enhancement algorithms on the CPU and GPU, albeit with lower performance and higher power consumption. The software works with Google's Android neural-network API (NNAPI). The chip will run Android P Go Edition (now in beta), which Google designed for low-cost phones with low DRAM capacity.

Microprocessor Report subscribers can access the full article:

http://www.linleygroup.com/mpr/article.php?id=12011

About Linley Newsletter

Linley Newsletter is a free electronic newsletter that reports and analyzes advances in microprocessors, networking chips, and mobile-communications chips. It is published by The Linley Group. To subscribe, please visit:

http://www.linleygroup.com/newsletters/newsletter_subscribe.php

Domain: Electronics
Category: Semiconductors

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