IBM chip consortium pushes 28nm plans

The technology being used to develop the 28nm semiconductors promises to result in chips that are smaller and will cut power consumption

An IBM consortium that includes chip-manufacturing players Chartered, GlobalFoundries, Infineon, Samsung and STMicroelectronics said on Thursday it is developing 28nm low-power semiconductors. The consortium also extended technology pacts between its members.

The manufacturing processes for 28nm chips are in place for 'early risk production' — that is, very early adopters — in the second half of 2010.

The 28nm chips will use high-k metal gate (HKMG) technology, low-power bulk complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) and other manufacturing processes. Those processes promise to result in chips that will be smaller and will cut power consumption.

Target markets include mobile internet devices, consumer electronics and other devices. The IBM consortium has already developed 32nm technology and claims that the migration to 28nm will not require architecture redesigns.

Early tests indicate that the 28nm technology provides a 40 percent performance boost and a 20 percent power reduction compared with 45nm chips.