Custom Layout Insights
Graham Etchells, Director of Product Marketing at Synopsys
Graham Etchells started in EDA before it was termed EDA. He has held marketing and sales positions at several companies and has been chasing the holy grail of analog/custom layout automation ever since he was a marketing director at Cadence in the mid-1990s. He says past experience indicates we may … More »
Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind
January 12th, 2017 by Graham Etchells, Director of Product Marketing at Synopsys
Happy New Year!
There’s no doubt that FinFET technologies have been very appealing. With FinFETs being up to 37% faster while using less than half the dynamic power than planar transistors, they have been a ‘no brainer’ to adopt and the industry has embraced them. To that extent, in a recent survey of Synopsys users, more than a third of those who responded plan to use FinFET technologies on their next chip.
Since its introduction, the technology has been rapidly evolving. Take TSMC, for example.
TSMC’s 16FF+ (FinFET Plus) technology features FinFET transistors with a third-generation High-k/Metal Gate process, a fifth generation of transistor strain process, and advanced 193nm lithography.
As a result, this latest 16nm technology offers substantial power reduction for the same chip performance. Now foundries are pushing even lower into 10nm and even 7nm process geometries.
In previous blog posts I outlined some of the many challenges that the first generation of FinFET technologies introduced into the custom layout flow. Many of you will be hitting these issues for the first time as 16nm and 14nm technologies move into the mainstream. For those moving beyond the 16/14nm generation, there is trouble ahead as a whole new set of issues must be overcome.
For nodes below 16/14nm we see new challenges related to design rules, layout effort, variation and analog/digital co-design. So over the next few weeks I will unfold the gory details of these emerging challenges.
Here’s hoping 2017 is a productive year for us all as we meet our challenges head-on!