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ARM Pitches Tri-gate Transistors for 20nm and Beyond

By - Source: ARM | B 22 comments

ARM could be introducing Fin-Shaped Field Effect Transistors (FinFET) in 20 nm and smaller chip designs.

According to a blog post by Jean Luc Pelloie, the company's Fellow Director of SOI Technology, 20 nm may represent an inflection point in which it will be necessary to transition from a metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) to Fin-Shaped Field Effect Transistors (FinFET) or 3D transistors, which Intel refers to as tri-gate designs that are set to debut with the company's 22 nm Ivy Bridge product generation.

Pelloie explains that it is "increasingly difficult to control the vertical electric field between the gate and the substrate while maintaining the channel depletion below threshold and then minimize the leakage current" when shrinking transistors. FinFETs are considered a solution to solve this problem. The engineer wrote that FiNFETs could be used on either bulk or SOI wafers. However, ARM still has work to do and especially investigate the scalability of this technology. "However, 3D devices are clearly on the road for sub-20nm nodes … and FinFET’s time may finally be here," Pelloie wrote.

FinFET history goes back to a December 2000 paper published in IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices entitled "FinFET - A Self-Aligned Double Gate MOSFET Scalable to 20 nm". Intel was first to move to tri-gates and take this technology into mass-production, but was accused of having switched to 3D transistors only because it was not able to scale its SRAMs, which the company traditionally uses to unveil a manufacturing process, from 32 nm to 22 nm. Intel's tri-gate technology was announced back in May of this year. Intel hopes that tri-gate technology will keep up with Moore's Law and especially drive low-voltage and low-power features.

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  • 21 Hide
    vigilante212 , December 29, 2011 3:57 PM
    If we could look 200 years into the future I don't think we would even understand what we were looking at concerning computers.
  • 11 Hide
    freggo , December 29, 2011 3:45 PM
    Don't you just wish you could take a peek at the computer news in say the year 2212?

    We are all quick to dismiss this CPU and that storage device as too slow, too expensive and too whatever. But we have come a long way from the ZX-81 and C64 in a relatively short period of time.

    So, given a 200 year time span, what will we be dealing with, and still dismissing as too slow, expensive and what have you.

    I wish time travel was more affordable so I could have a look :-)
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    freggo , December 29, 2011 3:45 PM
    Don't you just wish you could take a peek at the computer news in say the year 2212?

    We are all quick to dismiss this CPU and that storage device as too slow, too expensive and too whatever. But we have come a long way from the ZX-81 and C64 in a relatively short period of time.

    So, given a 200 year time span, what will we be dealing with, and still dismissing as too slow, expensive and what have you.

    I wish time travel was more affordable so I could have a look :-)
  • 21 Hide
    vigilante212 , December 29, 2011 3:57 PM
    If we could look 200 years into the future I don't think we would even understand what we were looking at concerning computers.
  • -6 Hide
    jujuvivi , December 29, 2011 4:05 PM
    Sooner or later, silicon transistor technology will reach its limit, slow down and stop.
    It might happen in the next 50 years or less.

    This doesn't mean we won't produce chips any more,
    but that their quality will be more or less the same:
    certainly not twice smaller and faster every 3 years.

    Mass production of chips based on a completely different techno are still science fiction today.
  • -1 Hide
    ksampanna , December 29, 2011 4:10 PM
    Yes, that is great & all, but first let's survive the 2012 holocaust
  • 3 Hide
    CaedenV , December 29, 2011 5:26 PM
    My bet is that in 2212 we would no longer have traditional 'computers' any longer, and that we would have moved to embedded machines (or something completely else) by that point. Hope I get to see it :) 

    @jujuvivi
    I think we will hit the wall in 20-25 years before moving on so some other type of computing technology (they are talking about hitting the 8-10nm wall within 10 years). After that it will become about 3D chip design (stacked/layered chips), better design, more efficient software, and moving on to quantum computing or some other technology yet to be invented.

    What I think is really crazy/wierd about technology is that my son will likely never have a traditional desktop of his own (or at least not need to), and that kids who are currently computer illiterate will never need to become literate because everything will move to personal sized devices using server/cloud services where all that matters is bandwidth and screen size/quality.

    The future is wierd, but it is neat to see where ARM and x86 take us.
  • 1 Hide
    itpro , December 29, 2011 5:43 PM
    Well, if you believe the prognosticators, in 200 years humans will no longer exist and the planet will be populated by intelligent machines. If we do still exist, we will be slaves to our digital overlords, existing only to service the collective.
  • -6 Hide
    BSMonitor , December 29, 2011 6:37 PM
    ksampannaYes, that is great & all, but first let's survive the 2012 holocaust


    Crap, what did you hear?? Are we going to elect another brain dead pot fiend Republican as President... Again...
  • 9 Hide
    Namey , December 29, 2011 7:08 PM
    BSMonitorCrap, what did you hear?? Are we going to elect another brain dead pot fiend Republican as President... Again...


    We've already had crackhead and snake in the grass/false hope prezies. I think pot is the least of our worries.
  • 6 Hide
    daneren2005 , December 29, 2011 8:29 PM
    itproWell, if you believe the prognosticators, in 200 years humans will no longer exist and the planet will be populated by intelligent machines. If we do still exist, we will be slaves to our digital overlords, existing only to service the collective.

    I never understood why people think superior robots that can mass produce 100x more efficient robots than ourselves would ever have any interest in enslaving mankind.
  • 5 Hide
    stingstang , December 29, 2011 8:38 PM
    daneren2005I never understood why people think superior robots that can mass produce 100x more efficient robots than ourselves would ever have any interest in enslaving mankind.

    You are correct. It would require too many resources to keep us alive. Yes sir, our kind will all be in the ground by then.
  • 3 Hide
    loomis86 , December 29, 2011 8:59 PM
    I think we will find that the top 1% of the human race is far more intelligent than anyone imagined and that machines will not be able to match them for centuries to come. Then there will be a quest to understand what makes the geniuses of our species so much smarter than the rest and how to produce more of them.

    My hunch is that the geniuses of today are smarter than the geniuses of 500 years ago, but that the stupid people of today are stupider than the stupid people of 500 years ago. There will come a day of reckoning, so to speak. A day when humans will start to discard the less intelligent individuals. The more tasks that can be done by machines, the less demand there is for average and below average human beings.
  • 0 Hide
    kingnoobe , December 29, 2011 9:29 PM
    It won't be just are brains that will win the war/come back after a loss with the machines, but our will to survive.

    And dareren it's simple, you're under the assumption that robots won't feel. If they don't feel then it will end up being some logic reasoning as in protecting mankind from itself, and the only way to do that is to enslave them and keep them under control. If they feel it maybe for the simple reason of revenge.

    But really by the time the machine wars happen the zombie apocalypse will happen sitting us back for another 1000 years.
  • 4 Hide
    alextheblue , December 29, 2011 10:18 PM
    stingstangYou are correct. It would require too many resources to keep us alive. Yes sir, our kind will all be in the ground by then.
    Ever heard of a zoo?
    loomis86There will come a day of reckoning, so to speak. A day when humans will start to discard the less intelligent individuals. The more tasks that can be done by machines, the less demand there is for average and below average human beings.
    Stupid people breed. You need to watch Idiocracy - if the machines don't take over, THAT is our future.
  • 6 Hide
    iLLz , December 29, 2011 10:40 PM
    ARM: "I can haz TriGate Transistors too???"

    Intel: "All your FinFETs are belong to us!"
  • 1 Hide
    alidan , December 30, 2011 12:46 AM
    Vigilante212If we could look 200 years into the future I don't think we would even understand what we were looking at concerning computers.


    if Wikipedia still exists, I'd be willing to learn 200 years a computer history second fathom what they were talking about.

    itproWell, if you believe the prognosticators, in 200 years humans will no longer exist and the planet will be populated by intelligent machines. If we do still exist, we will be slaves to our digital overlords, existing only to service the collective.


    by the time that we can have an computer overlord, we would also have an EMP technology strong enough to whiteboard computer, outside of the nuclear blast.

    daneren2005I never understood why people think superior robots that can mass produce 100x more efficient robots than ourselves would ever have any interest in enslaving mankind.


    What would be more interesting, wiping out an entire race of people, or enslaving them breaking their wills to the point don't even resist anymore. Sure they would kill at first, to cull the numbers,but after that break our wills.
  • 2 Hide
    king_maliken , December 30, 2011 5:33 AM
    Well I didn't take the time to read all the comments but seeing as where this was going I'll just say, the "stupid" people in our society today are the ones really reproducing, hence why we have so many "stupid" people in comparison to the smarter people; mainly because we have jobs, careers, responsibilities. We (I) really don't want kids in the near future, and when we do it's generally one to two kids at the most.

    So all and all, there will always be way more stupid people than smart people, smart people use condoms.

    FYI, it's just fantasy that we want robots to enslave us, as UFOs to do the same. This would not happen, either they would not even waste their time with genocide or bother to come to this rock. If any species can do FTL or manage to get to our planet, we are nothing to them, they could eradicate us in a blink of an eye.
  • -2 Hide
    digiex , December 30, 2011 7:51 AM
    Windows 8 in ARM CPU's, ARM DirectX gaming is not far behind.

    ARM will be a more serious competitor than AMD in the coming months.
  • 0 Hide
    rebel1280 , December 30, 2011 12:50 PM
    I think the future looks very grave at this point. Honestly, not to be negative but i dont see the US being all 50 states in 200 years. I hope so but there seems to be a lot of civil unrest and we are policing the world more than we should (sorry to get all political on TH) and starting to rule the US with an iron fist (looking at you SOPA). Remember we were supposed to have hover boards and flying cars by now lol. Though technology has come a long way, I agree that our current CPU tech will last, mas of 30 years. Who knows, maybe there will be a Tony Stark in our midst in the near future that will shape a technology for our future.
  • 0 Hide
    southernshark , December 30, 2011 12:55 PM
    daneren2005I never understood why people think superior robots that can mass produce 100x more efficient robots than ourselves would ever have any interest in enslaving mankind.



    Right..... or for that matter, why would they even stay on Earth? They could move their whole civilization to Mars, for example, and leave the Monkeys behind. They don't need our environment to exist.
  • 0 Hide
    rebel1280 , December 30, 2011 1:21 PM
    southernsharkRight..... or for that matter, why would they even stay on Earth? They could move their whole civilization to Mars, for example, and leave the Monkeys behind. They don't need our environment to exist.

    LOL this actually makes a ton of sense, if robots are any indicative of the direction of today's tech, the extreme cold of Mars would only help them be "super" robots as they would be able to overclock themselves without massive cooling devices! Shoot they could even build massive nuclear power plants all over Mars and over a thousand years actually make it hospitable due to accidentally manufacturing an ozone! ..... Thats when the monkey resistance begins and we take over Mars! (ok, sci-fi mode off)
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