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GlobalFoundries Partners With Google's Open-Source Silicon Effort To Provide 180nm Tech

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  • GlobalFoundries Partners With Google's Open-Source Silicon Effort To Provide 180nm Tech

    Phoronix: GlobalFoundries Partners With Google's Open-Source Silicon Effort To Provide 180nm Tech

    Over the past two years Google has been spearheading an effort to make silicon design more open-source and allowing more projects to get started in chip fabrication. That got started with a partnership with SkyWater Technology and Google covering the costs for open-source projects to see their initial chips fabricated on a 130nm process. Google's Open-Source Silicon Design Initiative recently announced SkyWater 90mm manufacturing will get underway for future manufacturing runs. Today the news out of Google's open-source group is that GlobalFoundries has joined this initiative and is providing 180nm manufacturing access...

    https://www.phoronix.com/news/Google-GloFo-GF180MCU

  • #2
    I'm clueless about what this actually means... I mean.. why such ancient size.. why all the other effort, do they think people make new chips in mom's basements..?

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    • #3
      I also don't get why this size in particular. GloFo offers 12nm last I checked, so why not use that?

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      • #4
        Because it's extremely mature, cheap, and still in use by designs which would require expensive and time-consuming re-validation should they change, and for certain applications, there's little call for reducing power draw, increased clock speed, or a physically smaller chip

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        • #5
          What uses this lithography, TV remote controllers?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Snaipersky View Post
            Because it's extremely mature, cheap, and still in use by designs which would require expensive and time-consuming re-validation should they change, and for certain applications, there's little call for reducing power draw, increased clock speed, or a physically smaller chip
            Sure but then why not 90nm? From what I heard (don't remember where), halving the transistor size makes it relatively easy to switch to a new node. 90nm is also extremely mature and cheap, and you can fit proportionately more usable product per-wafer, which is more profitable. I can't imagine 180nm is that much cheaper, when they're both outdated tech.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
              Sure but then why not 90nm? From what I heard (don't remember where), halving the transistor size makes it relatively easy to switch to a new node. 90nm is also extremely mature and cheap, and you can fit proportionately more usable product per-wafer, which is more profitable. I can't imagine 180nm is that much cheaper, when they're both outdated tech.
              In certain fields, *any* change requires re-validation, and the ODM/OEM is likely uninterested in even sinking the cost of re-evaluating a known viable product. I suspect 180 has seen a dip in customers due to supply issues holding up other components, and GloFo wants to keep the line going until its less profitable than replacing with a new node.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                Sure but then why not 90nm? From what I heard (don't remember where), halving the transistor size makes it relatively easy to switch to a new node. 90nm is also extremely mature and cheap, and you can fit proportionately more usable product per-wafer, which is more profitable. I can't imagine 180nm is that much cheaper, when they're both outdated tech.
                We are still in a massive worldwide chip shortage. I'm going to go on a limb and say their 90nm process is booked up. They might have some occasional underused capacity on 180nm.

                This are free chips made from available capacity. I think it costs virtually the same to have the chips being made 24/7 vs having a stop in production. Might even be more expensive to have a stop in production if it means extra recalibration.

                It's beyond cool that they would allow various people to make functional prototypes or proof-of-concepts, for free. It's very generous of them and Google.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by cl333r View Post
                  I'm clueless about what this actually means... I mean.. why such ancient size.. why all the other effort, do they think people make new chips in mom's basements..?
                  Well, at least it's a lot better than the 2cm "process" we have at home, and 1mm with best effort...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                    I also don't get why this size in particular. GloFo offers 12nm last I checked, so why not use that?
                    Cost of production.

                    12nm is cheap only when you produce it in the hundred-thousands.

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