GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

By Tiffany Trader

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue’s max capacity and doubling 2016 attendee numbers), the one-of-four foundry business launched a raft of announcements, including a new 12nm FinFET process for high performance applications. Prominent customer Advanced Micro Devices will use the 12nm technology in its Ryzen CPUs and Vega GPUs, bolstering its competitiveness against Intel and Nvidia.

GlobalFoundries said the new 12nm platform, on track for risk production in the first half of 2018, will offer a 15 percent improvement in circuit density and a greater than 10 percent performance boost over industry 16nm FinFET solutions. (There’s an intended improvement over 14nm too, of course, but no specific figures were offered.) Manufactured at the GlobalFoundries’ Fab 8 factory in Malta, NY, 12LP (LP stands for Leading Performance) builds on GloFo’s 14nm FinFET platform in high-volume production since early 2016.

“It pushes new design rules and some new constructs,” said GlobalFoundries CEO Sanjay Jha, “but our fundamental focus is to enable people who have already designed 14nm to be able to migrate to 12LP. It is a cost reduction path as well as a performance enhancement path for a number of our customers, including AMD.”

Source: GlobalFoundries

The 12LP platform features enhancements for RF/analog applications, and also new market-focused capability for automotive, a major focus for GlobalFoundries and close customer AMD, which according to a report published Wednesday from CNBC has snagged Tesla as a customer (however both GlobalFoundries and AMD categorically deny the rumor).

The 12nm technology is an intermediate step on the way to the 7nm FinFET node, slated for risk production in the first half of 2018. “It’s not a full redesign, but there is some design work to move into it,” said GlobalFoundries Chief Technology Officer Gary Patton in a press briefing. “We want it to be as close to an extension of 14 as possible. If you’ve invested all this design IP in 14, you want to extend that as much as possible. We’ve already done several performance enhancements on our 14nm, and this is just the next step to provide another performance enhancement but also provide a path to get some additional scaling [ahead of 7nm].”

Tirias Research analyst Jim McGregor has a positive outlook on 12nm, despite what he believes is a marketing-driven naming convention. “It’s really a subnode,” he shared with HPCwire, “It’s kind of funny because most people don’t make their subnodes public. Every company, every manufacturer whether it be Intel or GlobalFoundries has those sub-nodes. GlobalFoundries isn’t doing a full node at 10nm; they’re still going to 7nm.”

“So the announcement of calling it 12nm kind of surprised me but [having a subnode is] not something new. Where most people are just getting into 10nm manufacturing at the end of this year, right now, GlobalFoundries is pushing for the beginning of their manufacturing for first half of 2018, so they’re still aggressive. It surprised me a little bit, but I think that it was more of a benefit for AMD than anything else.

“AMD is very competitive with Intel right now, and in some cases is slaughtering Intel, so they don’t want to be perceived as being behind the curve of Intel from a process perspective,” McGregor added.

AMD uses GlobalFoundries 14nm FinFET process technology for its x86 Zen-based chips (Ryzen and EPYC) and for its Vega high performance GPUs. So far only Ryzen and Vega have been tapped for a 12nm upgrade; whether the EPYC server platform will also take this intermediary step may well hinge on 7nm’s readiness and capacity.

With the introduction of its 7nm process node, GlobalFoundries is touting a 40 percent performance improvement over 14nm and a 60 percent power reduction. The company is launching 7nm with optical lithography and has designed the technology to be drop-in compliant with EUV.

GlobalFoundries’ CEO Jha said he expects 12nm to be the last optical node, followed by 7nm becoming the first EUV node. “It will start out optical just as…90nm started out being 200mm and then migrated to 300mm and of course the vast majority of 90nm shipped actually happened in 300mm so at the moment, I think the last 200mm node that we see is really 130-110nm and thereafter everything is 300mm. I think EUV will turn out to be that way; 7nm is the first place that will start.”

Jha’s keynote emphasized the coming age of connected intelligence (read EnterpriseTech coverage here) that is pushing the development of new silicon technologies.

“We’re seeing an important shift in the business model of the foundry business,” the CEO said. “System companies, like Google, like Amazon, like Tesla, like Microsoft, are coming directly to foundries, they are working with EDA companies, IP companies and system design houses to get the IP. They want to control the hardware/software interface for the next generation of AI developments. They really want to control the architecture of both hardware and software, and it’s been the scenario over the last 10 years.

“People who control and capture the hardware/software interface capture most of the value in the industry, and certainly Apple has proven that’s where innovation occurs. I think more and more people are beginning to see this business model and I think we’re seeing more system houses hiring semiconductor engineers and driving innovation.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

IBM Launches Commercial Quantum Network with Samsung, ORNL

December 14, 2017

In the race to commercialize quantum computing, IBM is one of several companies leading the pack. Today, IBM announced it had signed JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, Samsung and a number of other corporations to its IBM Q Net Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Researchers Test AI Traffic Monitoring Tool in Austin

December 13, 2017

Traffic jams and mishaps are often painful and sometimes dangerous facts of life. At this week’s IEEE International Conference on Big Data being held in Boston, researchers from TACC and colleagues will present a new Read more…

By HPCwire Staff

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in what has become an overwhelmingly two-socket landscape in the d Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Explore the Origins of Space with COSMOS and Memory-Driven Computing

From the formation of black holes to the origins of space, data is the key to unlocking the secrets of the early universe. Read more…

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as several tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercialization of quantum. This week, Microsoft took the next step in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Launches Commercial Quantum Network with Samsung, ORNL

December 14, 2017

In the race to commercialize quantum computing, IBM is one of several companies leading the pack. Today, IBM announced it had signed JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in wha Read more…

By John Russell

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as several tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercializ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Iron, Soft, Data, People – It Takes an Ecosystem!

December 11, 2017

Cutting edge advanced computing hardware (aka big iron) does not stand by itself. These computers are the pinnacle of a myriad of technologies that must be care Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft Spins Cycle Computing into Core Azure Product

December 5, 2017

Last August, cloud giant Microsoft acquired HPC cloud orchestration pioneer Cycle Computing. Since then the focus has been on integrating Cycle’s organization Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries, Ayar Labs Team Up to Commercialize Optical I/O

December 4, 2017

GlobalFoundries (GF) and Ayar Labs, a startup focused on using light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between chips, today announced they've entered in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE In-Memory Platform Comes to COSMOS

November 30, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is on a mission to accelerate space research. In August, it sent the first commercial-off-the-shelf HPC system into space for testing Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open questi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Tensors Come of Age: Why the AI Revolution Will Help HPC

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago, parallel computing was coming of age. A bitter battle began between stalwart vector computing supporters and advocates of various approaches to parallel computing. IBM skeptic Alan Karp, reacting to announcements of nCUBE’s 1024-microprocessor system and Thinking Machines’ 65,536-element array, made a public $100 wager that no one could get a parallel speedup of over 200 on real HPC workloads. Read more…

By John Gustafson & Lenore Mullin

Flipping the Flops and Reading the Top500 Tea Leaves

November 13, 2017

The 50th edition of the Top500 list, the biannual publication of the world’s fastest supercomputers based on public Linpack benchmarking results, was released Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This