Monday, October 19th 2020

China's SMIC Announces N+1 Node Tape-Out for 7 nm Silicon

SMIC is taking immense strides in bridging the gap between China's in-house silicon manufacturing capability compared to the usual Taiwanese or US-based options. Despite its ties to the Chinese government, which led for a US blacklisting of the company amidst the current China-US trade-war, SMIC has definitely achieved a benchmark with its 7 nm tape-out. This was achieved after a number of funding rounds, some of them with the power of the Chinese state behind them. While the blacklisting definitely hurt the company, they still have access to ASML's semiconductor manufacturing equipment, so while the rope may be tight, it likely isn't suffocating.

The node's first production tape-out is for an ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) design for Innosilicon, which specializes in cryptocurrency mining, purpose-built chips. SMIC states that the new N+1 process can offer up to 20% boosted performance at the same clocks and core complexity compared to their 12 nm designs, which is subpar compared to other player's "7 nm class nodes", such as GloFo's 12 LP+, Samsung's 8LPP and TSMC's N7 non-EUV nodes (TSMC, for instance, offered a 20% performance boost between the 10 nm and 7 nm nodes). SMIC's manufacturing looks better in other metrics, though: power requirements can be reduced by 57% at the same TDP and complexity, and the transistor density can be increased by up to 2.7 times, (the "up to" depends on specific semiconductor structures). This is SMIC is only targeting - for now - low-power and low-cost devices with the N+1 nodes.
Source: Notebookcheck
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8 Comments on China's SMIC Announces N+1 Node Tape-Out for 7 nm Silicon

#1
ZoneDymo
coming soon finally: Inter Tigel Rake
Posted on Reply
#2
ZeppMan217
ZoneDymo
coming soon finally: Inter Tigel Rake
Cept they've licensed AMD's 1st or 2nd gen Ryzen designs.
Posted on Reply
#3
ncrs
ZeppMan217
Cept they've licensed AMD's 1st or 2nd gen Ryzen designs.
I don't think it worked like you think it did. The design was still handled/controlled by AMD and manufactured by GF. Hygon only packaged and marketed the result and branded it "Made in China". AnandTech explained it in great detail.
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#4
Xex360
The more competition the better.
Posted on Reply
#5
BArms
Xex360
The more competition the better.
Except there isn't that much competition in any case, ASML is the only company in the world that makes the extremely expensive machines all the fabs use.
Posted on Reply
#6
Upgrayedd
BArms
Except there isn't that much competition in any case, ASML is the only company in the world that makes the extremely expensive machines all the fabs use.
Canon makes some too don't they? I wonder who uses them.
Posted on Reply
#7
XiGMAKiD
Raevenlord
...subpar compared to other player's...
One baby step at a time.
Raevenlord
...low-power and low-cost devices...
aka 5G chip and mind control microchip :twitch:
Posted on Reply
#8
Camm
SMIC's also been pretty great at lifting tonnes of corporate IP from TSMC, so this isn't all that surprising.
Posted on Reply