GRENOBLE, France — The appearance of Gerd Teepe, director and design engineering at GlobalFoundries, at a CEA-Leti-sponsored FD-SOI workshop here has confirmed, once again, rumors surrounding the company’s upcoming “big announcement” about FD-SOI.
Teepe offered, in broad strokes, GlobalFoundries' FD-SOI time schedule. While it was no formal announcement, his presentation implied the company’s oft-leaked but never confirmed big plans in FD-SOI.
Teepe came to Grenoble, ostensibly, to end the suspense.
He said, “We are developing 22nm FD-SOI process technology right now.” The plan is to qualify the process by early 2016 and start volume production by the end of 2016. Asked about what the company’s 22nm FD-SOI process entails, Teepe explained, “We are using STMicroelectronics’ 14nm FD-SOI in our frontend, while using 28nm FD-SOI in the backend.”
GlobalFoundries appears to believe that their initial FD-SOI customers will be designers of big volume SoCs. While those customers need to push the performance of their SoCs, what they really need is a “good price,” said Teepe. The promise of GlobalFoundries’ 22nm FD-SOI solution, he concluded, is to offer his customers “almost 14nm FinFET performance at almost 28nm cost.”
GlobalFoundries’ plan is to initially “capture the SoC market” with its 22nm FD-SOI — for big volume. Then, in a few years, “we hope to be able to leverage FD-SOI’s super low-power strategy for wearables and other products, whose volume will start to emerge by then,” Teepe explained.
At the FD-SOI workshop, all three FD-SOI foundries — Samsung, STMicroelectronics and GlobalFoundries — were present. Asked about the portability of designs from one foundry to another, Kelvin Low, senior director, foundry marketing at Samsung Electronics, made it clear that ST and Samsung offer 100 percent portability. “You can transfer a single Process Design Kit (PDK) from ST to Samsung. That works.”