What's in a process-node metric—130 nm, 90 nm, 70 nm, 65 nm, 20 nm, 16 nm, 14 nm? Such measurements are becoming fictional, according to Mentor Graphics CEO Wally Rhines, addressing the International Electronics Forum 2013 meeting in Dublin, as reported by David Manners at Electronics Weekly (see “IEF2013: Liars’ contest on nodes, says Mentor CEO“).
The ITRS once served a referee for process-node-geometry claims, and feature size was a metric of success, Rhines said, until marketing departments got involved, the hype started, and the ITRS gave up.
Manners quotes Rhines as saying, “TSMC had a 20-nm process on their technology roadmap. They asked themselves: ‘What do we call it?’ and called it a 16-nm process. GlobalFoundries have a 20-nm process. They asked: ‘What do we call it?’ and answered: ‘Ah yes—14 nm.’”
Manners reports that earlier at IEF, Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, had called on the industry to better define what a process node is.