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TMSC 3D technology Vs Intel Tri Gate Process

TMSC 3D technology Vs Intel Tri Gate Process

We have found some articles comparing Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s chip manufacturing technology with Intel’s newest 3D technology that is being used for its Ivy Bridge processors.

This article clarifies some of the misconceptions that PC World and other publications have created primarily due to the lack of the understanding of the technology and secondarily to create a “news”, worthy of receiving attention.

Here is the excerpt from the PC World article

“Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is vying with Intel to become the first company to sell three-dimensional chips that boost the density of transistors in a single semiconductor by up to 1000 times.

TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, could make its first 3D chips commercially available before the end of 2011, according to a person close to the situation who requested anonymity.”

Unfortunately the half baked and incorrect reporting is worse than no reporting at all. Its only value is in creating sensational news and are far from truth.

Let us understand the what the 3D technology means in relation to the TMSC and Intel.

The 3D technology for TMSC is a way to stack silicon one on the top of the other and connect them using small vias called “Through Silicon Vias” or TSVs. A typical silicon, for example, may consist of the processor core on one of the layers, Cache in another layer and memory controller is third. These can then be joined using TSVs or the through silicon vias.

The Through Silicon Via technology uses vertical interconnections as against only horizontal connection that a 2D chip uses. This leads to smaller interconnect length and higher density of components.The stacking of the components of a silicon on different layers can provide fast memory accesses.

As it uses small area of 3D ICS’s leading to shorter wirelength than 2D IC’s because gates can be placed on top of each other in different dies, eliminating the need of long chip interconnects existing in 2-D IC’s.

This is different from the 3D technology that intel calls Tri state.

Intel’s 3D refers to the Tri-Gate transistor created using a three-sided silicon fin that the gate wraps around. The technology is promising as it give more control to using the three gates. It leads to smaller current in the off state and quicker “flow of electrons” in On state boosting speed. These two factors lead to the faster silicons that also consume lower power.

Obviously the two technologies are different and there is no similarity in the two except the word “3D”. PC World may like to be cautious when copying content from other places in creating sensation. We believe that this is an honest mistake by PC world created by incomplete understanding of the topic in hand.

Apparently, the TMSC’s 3D technology are purported to be used in the Apple’s A6 processor due sometimes in 2012. The Intel’s 3D tristae technology is being used in Ivy Bridge processors that are to launch in fist half of 2012.

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