Scott Jones and I had the opportunity to talk again with Gary Patton, GlobalFoundries CTO and SVP of R&D for a quick update on 7nm and EUV. Gary has been at GF for two years now with more than 500 other technologists from the IBM semiconductor acquisition. 7nm is the first IBM based process from GF (14nm was licensed from Samsung), it will also be the first time AMD has a process advantage over Intel.
“We are very pleased with the leading-edge technology that GF is bringing with its advanced 7nm processtechnology. Our collaborative work with GF is focused on creating high-performance products that will drive more immersive and instinctive computing experiences.”MarkPapermaster, CTO and senior vice president of technology and engineering, AMD.
Scott Jones will be updating his 14nm 16nm 10nm and 7nm – What we know now blog with the latest specs from GF 7nm in the next week or so. One thing you will notice is that the GF 7nm and TSMC 7nm are much more similar than previously thought. GF however is leading with a high performance (LP equals Lead Performance in IBM speak) version of 7nm for AMD while TSMC is first with a low power version of 7nm for Apple, Qualcomm, MediaTek, and the other SoC vendors. The similarity between the TSMC and GF 7nm processes does open up the opportunity for GF to do some serious 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] sourcing which is a critical component to the pure-play foundries business model, absolutely.
GF 7LP will be in volume production in the second half of 2018 and is expected to provide a greater than 40% improvement and 2x the area scaling over Samsung 14nm. According to Gary, EUV tools will be installed in the second half of 2017 with the hopes of inserting EUV into 7nm in 2019. My guess would be 2020 at the earliest but the point here is that EUV is not holding up 7nm for TSMC or GF and we should all be thankful for that.
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Back to the AMD thing. Given that the new AMD Ryzen architecture was launched on 14nm in Q1 2017, it should be reasonable to predict that AMD could refresh Ryzen on 7nm in the second half of 2018 putting AMD 7nm just six months behind Intel 10nm. I certainly hope this is the case because I really want to see how Intel PR spins that one!