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Monday, 15 August 2011 21:35

Has nVidia already moved to 28nm?

nV_LogoAccording to a few articles on the internet and a few things that are rumbling along the “usual lines” nVidia could already have working 28nm Silicon. Although no one seems to know what this silicon is a good guess would be Tegra.  Jen-Hsun Huang, nVidia’s CEO, has been quotes are saying they have an entire team working to make this move much smoother than the one to 40nm.

If you were not around for that one let’s just say it was a mess and nVidia lost a lot of money due to bad yields and other issues that were spawned by TSMC (Taiwanese  Silicon Manufacturing Company) and their own rough transition to this die size. However, if you remember during this troubling time for both nVidia and TSMC there was an announcement that TSMC had already begun work moving to 28nm.

This announcement was made by TSMC around September/October which would make the timing for this about right. So, if TSMC has gotten their 28nm process right and nVidia is truly moving Tegra to 28nm first (and has working silicon) then the logical guess for this working Silicon is Tegra. The question now is which Tegra? It is highly unlikely to be Kal-El, but considering the claims that Jen-Hsun is making, a quad core ARM based SoC (System on Chip) that uses less power than the current dual core, we have to wonder. This is speculation of course but we do have some evidence for this supposition. It would also seem to fit the delays of this new mobile chip that we have heard about (now they are saying Holiday Season). It would not be beyond the realm of probability to see these SoCs ready for December and products out in January/February time frame which again could mean the Kal-El will show up as 28nm and not 40nm… But to be honest it is VERY unlikely.

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tegradimeAbout three or four years ago nVidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made the bold announcement that he wanted nVidia’s ARM based SoC (System on Chip) named Tegra to become 50% of nVidia’s revenue. One of the products that has had at least good success has been Microsoft’s ZuneHD. We were given the chance to play around with one of these and found it to be a great product. Unfortunately between the launch of the Tegra and the Tegra 2 was a serious delay. This had something of a negative impact on the market acceptance for this processor. When you combined these delays with the issues (and rumors) around the Fermi GPUs things did not look good for nVidia’s dream.

However, since that time they have managed to turn much of that around and pulled off some great design wins. We have found nVidia’s dual core Tegra 2 in devices such as Asus’ Transformer and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Both of these devices have grabbed the market’s interest and have begun to nibble away at the strangle hold that Apple has on the tablet market (and prompted a number of lawsuits from Apple).

Now with the Tegra 2 still tumbling out into the market nVidia is talking Kal-El a quad core Tegra that is reportedly faster and more power efficient than the Tegra 2. Now, having a power efficient quad core ARM based SoC is a very cool feat, but if nVidia is to be believed then the Kal-El Tegra will use less power than the current dual core Tegra 2. For those that will sat that the Android based Tablet and phone is in serious trouble due to Apple’s recent lawsuits and patent complaints do not worry. According to Huang, nVidia is still investing heavily in Android and also looking forward to Microsoft’s Windows 8. Windows 8 will be the first Windows operating system for ARM based SoCs.

We have some questions into nVidia to see just what they see as the future for Terga and the whole world of the Tegra and Smart device. We hope to hear back from them soon on this, but for now… it will be interesting to watch and see if nVidia can get Kal-El out of the gate soon and not repeat the same mistakes that plagued Tegra 2.

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