Common Platform, an industry group made up of semiconductor companies including Samsung, IBM, and GlobalFoundries, has confirmed that Intel will be alone in the use of 3D transistor technology until at least 2014.
Speaking at the Common Platform Technology Forum in California this week, representatives from the Common Platform group stated plans to introduce FinFET - fin-based field effect transistors - technologies into its standards at the same time as it shifts to the 14nm process size.
According to estimates made by Bright Side of News
, that means FinFET technology won't be appearing in Common Platform devices until around the 2014-2015 mark.
The announcement leaves industry giant Intel with a major head-start: not a member of the Common Platform, the company has been building FinFET-like technology in the form of its Tri-Gate Transistor
into its upcoming Ivy Bridge 22nm processors due for release in the very near future. As a result, it will be the only mainstream chip maker to offer a FinFET-like product for the next couple of years.
It's a technology which gives Intel a significant edge. By extending the transistors into the third dimension using a protruding fin, Intel claims its Tri-Gate Transistor drop power draw by around 50 per cent compared to traditional planar (2D) transistors. Alternatively, chips build using Tri-Gate technology can boost performance up to 37 per cent for the same power draw as their planar predecessors.
By delaying the use of FinFET until 2014, companies signed up to the Common Platform risk giving Intel a major head-start in the technology. Looking at it from the other perspective, however, it offers Common Platform members a cost-free test-bed implementation; should Intel run into trouble with Tri-Gate, member companies would be able to learn from their competitor's mistakes before rushing head-first into FinFET themselves.