IBM, in partnership with GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Samsung at SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY Poly CNSE) have announced the first functional 7nm chips. This required two firsts – using silicon germanium (SiGe) as the channel material and commercially viable integrated extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.
According to the IBM-led alliance, the 7nm test chip delivers “close to 50 percent area scaling improvements” over 10nm process nodes. Further, the combination of “SiGe channel material for transistor performance enhancement at 7nm node geometries, process innovations to stack them below 30nm pitch and full integration of EUV lithography at multiple levels…could result in at least a 50 percent power/performance improvement for next generation mainframe and POWER systems that will power the Big Data, cloud and mobile era.”
The advances set the stage for CPUs with up to 20 billion transistors, nearly a four-fold boost over today’s largest, such as Intel’s 18-core Xeon Haswell-EP with more than 5.5 billion transistors and IBM’s neuromorphic TrueNorth chip with about 5.4 billion.
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