Semiconductor foundry company GlobalFoundries has issued a press release crowing about its 32nm and 28nm process technology leadership, ahead of the Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA) emerging opportunities conference, which takes place tomorrow.
Because there didn't seem to be a new announcement, we wondered why GlobalFoundries chose this particular moment to emphasize the benefits of its capabilities over, presumably, its biggest rival TSMC.
Of the two, the 28nm process is the more intriguing, not only because it's smaller, but because the 32nm roadmap applies entirely to AMD and its CPUs. As GlobalFoundies has already made clear, it is targeting pretty much every member of the GSA, and a lot of its most significant members are also part of the ARM ecosystem.
We understand that ARM partners are especially attracted to the 28nm process due to its power saving benefits. In the embedded and SoC space, where ARM is dominant, it's all about low power. So any manufacturing processs that allows you to offer the same processor goodies, but consume less power doing it, is going to attract the attention of ARM and its ecosystem.
GlobalFoundries is onto the second generation of its HKMG technology, which reduces electrical leakage and thus power consumption, and the third generation of its immersion lithography manufacturing technique. It thinks this gives it a competitive advantage over TSMC.
The ‘gate first' variant of HKMG technology that GlobalFoundries uses is also supposed to compare favourably to the older ‘gate last' technology in terms of power, cost and complexity.