The system-to-silicon IC design consultancy, Sondrel, has announced that it has just completed its third 28nm design this year – for a major communications company – and is closing on two more at this node. Although Sondrel has worked on over 200 IC designs at all nodes down to 20nm, and chip sizes over 700mm², the fact that the company has been able to report so many successful tape-outs at 28nm has helped to convince the organisation’s CEO Graham Curren that 28nm will be the preferred geometry for complex chips for some time to come.
According to Curren, “As an independent design consultancy we have customers in all sectors – mobile, computing, graphics, consumer, automotive – so it is interesting that so many of our projects are based around 28nm. We think this is perhaps because 28nm appears to be a strong, stable process with good yield and performance characteristics, and is therefore more attractive than 40nm or the still new 20nm node. Our approach – where we consider manufacturability from the outset rather than as a separate activity later – pays dividends at all nodes, especially at 28nm and below, where there are a lot of new DFM requirements, and where you simply can’t afford to ignore production issues early on.”
Sondrel is a TSMC Design Centre Alliance (DCA) partner and the leading IC foundry’s recent earning release supports Sondrel’s 28 nanometer viewpoint, announcing that “shipments of 28 nanometer process technology reached 22% of total wafer revenues”. Sondrel is also approved by SMIC – the consultancy is one of a very few such companies to be approved by both SMIC and TSMC – and has strong relationships with EDA tools vendors, IP suppliers and other foundries, resulting in a very strong design supply chain.