Common Platform Alliance Announces Fast Track to 10XM Process in 2015

At the 2013 Common Platform Technology Forum, recently held in Santa Clara, CA – the alliance members announced their new roadmap, accelerating the new manufacturing processes in a bid to set the pace of the industry.

As you can see in the roadmap below, the Common Platform members will accelerate the introduction of new manufacturing processes. The 20nm Planar LPM is getting introduced over the course of this year, but next year will see the adoption of FinFET transistors with the 14XM process, and that will continue with the 10XM process in 2015.

According to Jean-Marc Chery, CTO of ST Microelectronics, there’s a level of annoyance with the way how Intel named its 22nm FinFET process, while in fact those transistors are closer to the 26nm process. Naturally, if you are in semiconductor industry, you know that all of these numbers are quite "wide off the mark", and the way how industry calculated the transistors no longer works when 3D transistors, or FinFETs are involved. This was confirmed by Warren East, 

Common Platform confirms 14XM on track for next year and the launch of 10XM process in 2015.
Common Platform confirms 14XM on track for next year and the launch of 10XM process in 2015.

Thus, Common Platform decided to continue naming its processes with the industry standard, but they are making a clear distinction that their 14XM and now the 10XM are "14nm and 10nm FinFET transistors on a 20nm or 14nm process". There is a particularly good reason for this, as we are approaching to boundaries of modern lithography, before the whole industry makes the jump to EUV (Extreme Ultra-Violet) process.

In a conversation with the executives inside of semiconductor industry, we were told that "we are at the beginning of new process wars," our source said under the condition of anonymity. "ARM awoke the manufacturing giant and now they will have to deal with the increased power the new ARMv8 architecture brings. (Google) Nexus 10 is the best example as it runs at 9 Watts during the benchmarks, and you can practically have a low-power (Intel) Ivy Bridge processor for that amount of power. Nobody expected that from an ARM-based processor." Furthermore, the source that designs products based on ARM and x86 architectures told us "There are plenty of choices but the key lies with the silicon. The key differentiator no longer lies with the price, but with the experience that a device can provide. Industry learned that with Apple."

In conclusion, we can expect that in 2014 and 2015 we are going to start seeing processors manufactured in 14XM (20nm FinFET) and 10XM (14nm FinFET) from the Common Platform Alliance facilities in New York State, Dresden, Austin and South Korea. Given that the members such as GlobalFoundries have hundreds of clients, don’t be surprised to see a whole new generation of low-power SoC’s from AMD, Apple, Nvidia, Qualcomm, STMicro and many others.