News Posts matching "7 nm+"

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Intel "Sapphire Rapids" Brings PCIe Gen 5 and DDR5 to the Data-Center

As if the mother of all ironies, prior to its effective death-sentence dealt by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Huawei's server business developed an ambitious product roadmap for its Fusion Server family, aligning with Intel's enterprise processor roadmap. It describes in great detail the key features of these processors, such as core-counts, platform, and I/O. The "Sapphire Rapids" processor will introduce the biggest I/O advancements in close to a decade, when it releases sometime in 2021.

With an unannounced CPU core-count, the "Sapphire Rapids-SP" processor will introduce DDR5 memory support to the data-center, which aims to double bandwidth and memory capacity over the DDR4 generation. The processor features an 8-channel (512-bit wide) DDR5 memory interface. The second major I/O introduction is PCI-Express gen 5.0, which not only doubles bandwidth over gen 4.0 to 32 Gbps per lane, but also comes with a constellation of data-center-relevant features that Intel is pushing out in advance as part of the CXL Interconnect. CXL and PCIe gen 5 are practically identical.

Intel Switches Gears to 7nm Post 10nm, First Node Live in 2021

Intel's semiconductor manufacturing business has had a terrible past 5 years as it struggled to execute its 10 nanometer roadmap forcing the company's processor designers to re-hash the "Skylake" microarchitecture for 5 generations of Core processors, including the upcoming "Comet Lake." Its truly next-generation microarchitecture, codenamed "Ice Lake," which features a new CPU core design called "Sunny Cove," comes out toward the end of 2019, with desktop rollouts expected 2020. It turns out that the 10 nm process it's designed for, will have a rather short reign at Intel's fabs. Speaking at an investor's summit on Wednesday, Intel put out its silicon fabrication roadmap that sees an accelerated roll-out of Intel's own 7 nm process.

When it goes live and fit for mass production some time in 2021, Intel's 7 nm process will be a staggering 3 years behind TSMC, which fired up its 7 nm node in 2018. AMD is already mass-producing CPUs and GPUs on this node. Unlike TSMC, Intel will implement EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography straightaway. TSMC began 7 nm with DUV (deep ultraviolet) in 2018, and its EUV node went live in March. Samsung's 7 nm EUV node went up last October. Intel's roadmap doesn't show a leap from its current 10 nm node to 7 nm EUV, though. Intel will refine the 10 nm node to squeeze out energy-efficiency, with a refreshed 10 nm+ node that goes live some time in 2020.

AMD Zen3 to Leverage 7nm+ EUV For 20% Transistor Density Increase

AMD "Zen 3" microarchitecture could be designed for the enhanced 7 nm+ EUV (extreme ultraviolet) silicon fabrication node at TSMC, which promises a significant 20 percent increase in transistor densities compared to the 7 nm DUV (deep ultraviolet) node on which its "Zen 2" processors are being built. In addition, the node will also reduce power consumption by up to 10 percent at the same operational load. In a late-2018 interview, CTO Mark Papermaster stated AMD's design goal with "Zen 3" would be to prioritize energy-efficiency, and that it would present "modest" performance improvements (read: IPC improvements) over "Zen 2." AMD made it clear that it won't drag 7 nm DUV over more than one microarchitecture (Zen 2), and that "Zen 3" will debut in 2020 on 7 nm+ EUV.

AMD "Navi" GPU Architecture Successor Codenamed "Arcturus"?

Arcturus is the fourth brightest star in the night sky, and could be the a new GPU architecture by AMD succeeding "Navi," according to a Phoronix report. The codename of Navi-successor has long eluded AMD's roadmap slides. The name "Arcturis" surfaced on Phoronix community forums, from a post by an AMD Linux liaison who is a member there. The codename is also supported by the fact that AMD is naming its GPU architectures after the brightest stars in the sky (albeit in a descending order of their brightness). Polaris is the brightest, followed by Vega, Navi, and Arcturus.

AMD last referenced the Navi-successor on a roadmap slide during its 2017 Financial Analyst Day presentation by Mark Papermaster. That slide mentioned "Vega" to be built on two silicon fabrication processes, 14 nm and "14 nm+." We know now that AMD intends to build a better-endowed "Vega" chip on 7 nm, which could be the world's first 7 nm GPU. "Navi" is slated to be built on 7 nm as the process becomes more prevalent in the industry. The same slide mentions Navi-successor as being built on "7 nm+," which going by convention, could refer to an even more advanced process than 7 nm. Unfortunately, even in 2017, when the industry was a touch more optimistic about 7 nm, AMD expected the Navi-successor to only come out by 2020. We're not holding our breath.

Analyst Firm Susquehanna: "Intel Lost its Manufacturing Leadership"

Intel was once the shining star in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, with a perfectly integrated, vertical product design and manufacturing scheme. Intel was one of the few companies in the world to be able to both develop its architectures and gear their manufacturing facilities to their design characteristics, ensuring a perfect marriage of design and manufacturing. However, not all is rosy on that field, as we've seen; AMD itself also was a fully integrated company, but decided to spin-off its manufacturing arm so as to survive - thus creating GLOBALFOUNDRIES.But Intel was seen as many as the leader in semiconductor manufacturing, always at the cutting edge of - well - Moore's Law, named after Intel's founding father Gordon Moore. Now, Mehdi Hosseini, an analyst with Susquehanna, has gone on to say that the blue giant has effectively lost its semiconductor leadership. And it has, in a way, even if its 10 nm (which is in development hell, so to speak) is technically more advanced than some 7 nm implementations waiting to be delivered to market by its competitors. However, there's one area where Intel will stop being able to claim leadership: manufacturing techniques involving EUV (Extreme UltraViolet).

TSMC to Bring 3D Stacked Wafers to Complex Silicon Designs, Such as GPUs

TSMC is close to adapt 3D stacked silicon wafers to complex silicon designs, such as graphics processors, using its new proprietary Wafer-on-Wafer (WoW) Advanced Packaging technology, which will be introduced with its 7 nm+ and 5 nm nodes. 3D stacked silicon fabrication is currently only implemented on "less complex" silicon designs, such as NAND flash, which don't run anywhere near as hot as complex designs ASIC designs, such as GPUs or CPUs. In its current form, TSMC achieved 2-layer stacks, in which two silicon layers that are "mirror images" of each other (for perfect alignment), sandwich bonding layers, through which pins for the upper layer pass through.

The bonding of the two layers is where the bulk of TSMC's innovations and "secret sauces" lie. For 3D NAND flash, multiple pancaked dies are wired out through their edges. You don't need as many pins to talk to a NAND flash die, as say a GPU die. For complex dies, designers have to pass thousands of pins through the "bottom layer," the connecting substrate, and eventually to the "top layer." The bottom layer hence is bumped out on both ends, one side interfacing with the package substrate for both dies, and the top side serving as a sort of substrate for the top die. This innovation is what TSMC calls "thru-silicon-vias" or TSVs.

AMD Reveals CPU, Graphics 2018-2020 Roadmap at CES

AMD at CES shed some light on its 2018 roadmap, while taking the opportunity to further shed some light on its graphics and CPU projects up to 2020. Part of their 2018 roadmap was the company's already announced, across the board price-cuts for their first generation Ryzen processors. This move aims to increase competitiveness of its CPU offerings against rival Intel - thus taking advantage of the blue giant's currently weakened position due to the exploit saga we've been covering. This move should also enable inventory clearings of first-gen Ryzen processors - soon to be supplanted by the new Zen+ 12 nm offerings, which are expected to receive a 10% boost to power efficiency from the process shrink alone, while also including some specific improvements in optimizing their performance per watt profile. These are further bound to see their market introduction in March, and are already in the process of sampling.

On the CPU side, AMD's 2018 roadmap further points towards a Threadripper and Ryzen Pro refresh in the 2H 2018, likely in the same vein as their consumer CPUs that we just talked about. On the graphics side of their 2018 roadmap, AMD focused user's attention in the introduction of premium Vega offerings in the mobile space (with HBM2 memory integration on interposer, as well), which should enable the company to compete against NVIDIA in the discrete graphics space for mobile computers. Another very interesting tidbit announced by AMD is that they would be skipping the 12 nm process for their graphics products entirely; the company announced that it will begin sampling of 7 nm Vega products to its partners, but only on the Instinct product line of machine learning accelerators. We consumers will likely have to wait a little while longer until we see some 7 nm graphics cards from AMD.
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