Globalfoundries wants to show that it can play the 3D transistor game as well as Intel. Its newly unveiled 14nm-XM (Extreme Mobility) modular architecture uses the inherently low-voltage, low-leak nature of the foundry's FinFET layout, along with a few traces of its still-in-development 20nm process, to build a 14-nanometer chip with all the size and power savings that usually come from a die shrink. Compared to the larger processors with flat transistors that we're used to, the new technique is poised to offer between 40 to 60 percent better battery life, all else being equal -- a huge help when even those devices built on a 28nm Snapdragon S4 can struggle to make it through a full day on a charge. To no one's shock, Globalfoundries is focusing its energy on getting 14nm-XM into the ARM-based processors that could use the energy savings the most. It will be some time before you find that extra-dimensional technology sitting in your phone or tablet, though. Just as Intel doesn't expect to reach those miniscule sizes until 2013, Globalfoundries expects its first working 14nm silicon to arrive the same year. That could leave a long wait between test production runs and having a finished product in your hands.
Gerardo Partida Guzmán