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http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquir...e-k-metal-gate

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Bun fight at the High-K Corral

IBM AND partners reckon they can now outperform the rest of the industry in performance and power consumption, by using high-k/metal gate (HKMG) on silicon manufactured at IBM's 300mm semiconductor fab in East Fishkill, NY.

IBM and its chums, including Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, Freescale Infineon Technologies, Samsung Electronics, ST Micro and Toshiba, said today that they had analysed 32nm technology circuits and discovered that they had, on average, 35 per cent better performance than 45nm technology circuits at the same operating voltage. The 32nm also consumed between 30 to 50 per cent less power than the 45nm, with respect to operating voltage.

Vice president for IBM's Semiconductor Research and Development Center, Gary Patton, said that this “means that as our collective client base moves to next-generation technology by using the 'gate-first' approach, they will continue to maintain a significant competitive advantage."

IBM’s alliance is apparently the first in the OEM foundry industry to show off HKMG technology in the 32nm technology generation. But it was Intel boffins who were probably the first to realise that silicon oxide gates had an irritating tendency to leak.

In 2007, Intel deployed hafnium-based high-k dielectrics with a metallic gate for components built on 45 nm technologies, namely in the processor series Penryn. High k Hafnium metal gate 45 nm fix the leakage problem bringing gate leakage down by a factor of 10 in Intel’s 45nm Hafnium wafers. Intel rival AMD has yet to come out with its hafnium-based offerings, but it’s believed that they’re currently in the works. Meanwhile, Intel is also working on its 32nm hafnium wafer.

IBM says that silicon support for low-power 32nm HKMG technology will be available in the third quarter of 2008, and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering has apparently just completed feasibility results showing that the process can also be extended to 22nm.

In January of 2007, the IBM alliance used high-k/metal gate in a portion of the transistor that controls its primary on/off switching function, and this is what lead to the development of the smaller, faster, and more power-efficient 32nm chip circuitry.

Director of Process Technology at IBM’s partner, Freescale, Dirk Wrister, noted that “high-k/metal gate technology is going to deliver a significant product and performance differentiation. These early results are a significant step in the demonstration of high-k/metal gate viability in 32nm technology."
Can't wait to see this technology implemented on AMD's silicon. Things might start to actually get interesting again! Sadly it'll be probably closer to three years before we see the 32nm hafnium stuff...
    
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