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Posted: July 22, 2009
Greener electronics initiative launched by the SOI Industry Consortium
(Nanowerk News) The SOI Industry Consortium today announced the launch of SOI
Simply Greener, an initiative encouraging broader application of the energy
saving benefits of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology by the electronics
industry. Semiconductor chips manufactured on SOI instead of traditional bulk
silicon can realize energy savings of 30% or more when designed with the same
feature size at equivalent performance. Broader adoption and usage of SOI
technology by the electronics industry are consistent with global initiatives
to both lower global electric power demand and reduce electric power bills
for businesses and consumers.
"SOI is simply greener - and this story needs to be told," said Horacio
Mendez, Executive Director of the SOI Industry Consortium. "The first
high-volume SOI applications were geared to high performance, but even there,
the power-saving benefits are now apparent. The fact that 18 of the top 20
most power-efficient supercomputers [source: http://www.green500.org] are
built with SOI demonstrates SOI's 'GreenIT' benefits for enterprise
applications. Also current versions of the top 3 consumer game consoles each
include SOI-based chips, but much more can be done to help consumers lower
their power bills through broader SOI usage. The SOI Consortium's 'green'
campaign will drive that point home to the design community."
The energy-efficiency advantage of SOI technology contributes to both
increased performance and reduced power consumption - the magnitude of
benefit applied to each is the designer's choice. Since "apples-to-apples"
comparisons are impractical for most design teams to make, results from two
studies are offered by consortium members to demonstrate this point.
- A benchmark analysis was performed by ARM Holdings using a 24-stage
interconnect-loaded datapath circuit. When comparing IBM's 45nm bulk
silicon high performance and 45nm SOI technologies, the SOI
implementation resulted in a 25% circuit area reduction, 66%
reduction in static power leakage and nearly 22% reduction in dynamic
power with 5% higher performance.
- A consumer product chip design that was migrated from 65nm bulk
silicon high performance to IBM's 45nm SOI technology realized a 50%
increase in operating frequency, more than 64% reduction in die area
and a 38% reduction in power consumption.
Whether designers put the emphasis on increasing or maintaining
performance, significant power savings (as well as area savings) were
realized with a move to SOI.
"As we detailed in our recent report, 'Semiconductor Technologies: The
Potential to Revolutionize U.S. Energy Productivity', semiconductors already are the leading factor
behind energy efficiency gains," said lead author of the report John A.
"Skip" Laitner, Director, Economic and Social Analysis, American Council for
an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). "SOI offers a
major advance in the power efficiency of electronics, and with appropriate
public policy, investment and usage these semiconductor technology gains can
contribute to cumulative net electricity bill savings of $800 billion through
2030 for consumers and businesses in the United States alone, as well as
creating an average of 500,000 new jobs per year and reducing energy-related
CO2 emissions by more than 400 million metric tons annually over the period
2010 through 2030."
In a survey (http://soiconsortium.org/pdf/2008_SOI_Report_24June.pdf)
jointly conducted last year by the Global Semiconductor Alliance and the SOI Industry Consortium, semiconductor
designers indicated overwhelmingly that power savings is their primary driver
for considering an SOI-based solution. To meet this market demand the 28
member companies, research and academic institutions of the SOI Industry
Consortium are stepping up collaboration in the areas of new process
development, chip design techniques, designer training, electronic design
automation (EDA) productivity tools, and intellectual property (IP)
development to provide broader access to SOI technology and ecosystem support
for designers, and to enable the electronics industry, its customers and the
global community to fully realize the power-saving advantages of this greener
The SOI Industry Consortium welcomes companies, organizations, government
and academic institutions to join the group in applying the full benefits of
SOI-based electronics to global sustainability challenges and lowering the
total cost-of-ownership of electronics.
About the SOI Industry Consortium
The SOI Industry Consortium is chartered with accelerating
silicon-on-insulator (SOI) innovation into broad markets by promoting the
benefits of SOI technology and reducing the barriers to adoption.
Representing innovation leaders from the entire electronics industry
infrastructure, current SOI Industry Consortium members include: AMD, Applied
Materials, ARM, Cadence Design Systems, CEA-Leti, Chartered Semiconductor
Manufacturing, Freescale Semiconductor, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, IBM, IMEC, Infotech,
Innovative Silicon, KLA-Tencor, Magma Design, Nvidia, Ritsumeikan University,
Samsung, Semico, SEH Europe, Soitec, Stanford University, STMicroelectronics,
Synopsys, TSMC, Tyndall Institute, University of California-Berkeley,
University Catholique de Louvain, and UMC. Membership is open to all
companies and institutions throughout the electronics industry.