Foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (Hsinchu, Taiwan) has announced that a variant of its 28nm CMOS manufacturing process with reduced die size and improved performance is shipping in volume.
The 28HPC process, which has a high-k metal gate structure, can produce a 10 percent smaller die and 30 percent lower power consumption than the established 28LP process based on a silicon-oxynitride (SiON) gate insulator. So far 10 customers have taped out 28HPC IC designs and several of these have started volume production, TSMC said.
TSMC is already producing a 20nm planar CMOS manufacturing process but this is thought to be running almost exclusively making the A8 application processor for Apple. The company is also working to introduce a 16nm FinFET manufacturing process in 2015. The 28HPC process joins multiple established processes that include 28LP (low power with SiON), 28HP (high performance with HKMG), 28HPL (low power with HKMG), and 28HPM (high performance for mobile computing).
TSMC said that the 28HPC process delivers the best 64bit CPU and LTE modem performance for a fixed power budget for smartphones, tablet computers and other consumer products.
The 30 percent reduced power at fixed clock frequency can be traded off for a 20 percent speed improvement at the same power through tighter process control, more efficient design and additional process features. TSMC said that because IP cores for the 28HPM process have been migrated to the 28HPC developers will be helped porting of processor designs to 28HPC.
Besides the 10 tape-outs already achieved TSMC is expecting a further 70 before the end of 2014.
Allwinner's octa-core A83 application processor is one of those fabricated in 28HPC. Amlogic's S812 4K HEVC modem, containing quad-core Cortex-A9 and T450 Mali GPU is another. MStar is using 28HPC for 4K ultrahigh definition television processor and Spreadtrum is offering smartphone ICs using the technology.
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