Not long after posting 3D IC Reality Check on Tuesday, I discovered that I missed one. If you haven’t read the post by SemiMD’s Mark Lepedus, Industry Inches Towards 3D Chips you should. While its got some similar information about recent announcements from GlobalFoundries as was in Rick Merritt’s post in EETIMES, it has a much more optimistic spin. LePedus also gives a glimpse of other foundry and IDM activities in the 2.5D and 3D race to ramp, and quotes Jan Vardaman, who says it all hinges on memory cubes. “Everyone is waiting for the memory cubes,” Vardaman said. “The main question is when are the memory cubes going to ship?”
While that question remains unanswered, we might be moving closer than we think. Two posts I came across today report that the Hybrid Memory Cube Consortium has published the final specifications of HMC technology. According to blogger Anton Shilov in Xbit, this marks the turning point for designers in a wide range of segments to begin designing the Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC). Micron’s VP of DRAM Marketing, Robert Feurle says this will “tear down the memory wall” and will “drive the fastest possible HMC adoption.” While we’ve all been complaining about technology adoption delays, Shilov notes that the process has only taken 17 months. Looking for more detail on the specification itself? Richard Chirgwin, of The Register, writes about it in his post, Memory Vendors Pile on the 3D Stacking Standard.
And speaking of Moore’s Law, in the Harvard Business Review, Hector Ruiz, managing director and founder of Advanced Nanotechnology Solutions (or you may know him from his days as CEO of AMD) posted a fabulously analogical piece on how 3D ICs are the off-ramp to the Moore’s Law traffic jam. in it, he says 3D integration “offers new hope — not just of continued improvement in semiconductors but of an open, competitive playing field unlike the Intel-dominated landscape of the past half century.” He says that although both Intel and AMD have 3D ICs on their respective roadmaps, neither company “has figured out how to volume-manufacture” the technology. He says TSMC and Samsung are ones to watch. I was surprised he didn’t include GlobalFoundries’ in that race, because based on the company’s accelerated activity reported this week all over the industry news, I’d put my money on them. ~ F.v.T.