Insights From Leading Edge

IFTLE 296: The 2016 ConFab – China the “Wild Card”; HBM Close Up; Comparing High Density Packaging Technologies

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor

By now every web site from the MIT review to Popular Mechanics (yes, seriously) has picked up the release of the last ITRS roadmap and it’s conclusion that Moore’s Law or more precisely “scaling,” as we have known it, are a thing of the past. I will let the dust settle and dedicate IFTLE 300, my milestone, to discuss this milestone.

But for now, taking a respite from the powerful 2016 ECTC conference, let’s take a look at activities at the ConFab that occurred in June.

IC Insights –IC Industry Status

Bill McClean gave his annual look at the state of our industry. His numbers (shown below) show us coming back to pre 2015 values, although IFTLE’s gut feel is that we will be lucky to surpass 2015 numbers. I base this on the now well accepted data that shows our electronics industry has a 96% correlation factor with the overall GDP. It’s nice to have a rosy outlook, but the GDP just isn’t going anywhere lately and even 2% growth may be overly optimistic.

IC insights 1


Equally as interesting is the role of China in this economy. In past blogs I have called them the “wild card” in any economic outlooks. They are pursuing the microelectronics industry so strongly because they are currently manufacturing only 13% of the ICs they consume (2015). The Govt has poured billions into funds to try to reverse this.

McClean reports the following 3 phase strategy:

IC insights 2

We are clearly in the 3rd phase now where they are attempting to gain share in the electronics industry by mergers and acquisitions.

ic insights 3

Although attempts to buy Micron, WesternDigital/Sandisk and Fairchild have not worked out, many other mergers / acquisitions / JV’s have as shown below.

IC insights 4


TechInsights – Where the money is being made and HBM Close up

Kevin Gibb from TechInsights had an interesting point to make about where the money is being made and some great cross section photos of Hynix HBM memory stacks.

First, looking at where TSMC and UMC generate their sales, we see that TSMC is much more highly invested in the latest nodes, i.e. 28 and 20nm vs UMC. Also interesting that 180 and 130nm are generating more sales for TSMC than 90 and 60nm.

TechInsights 1


We are all aware by now of the infamous Hynix HB memory stacks which have become the mainstay of 2.5D memory products like the AMD R9 Fury. The photos below are some of the better close-up cross sections that I have seen.

TechInsights 2

The 5.5um Cu filled TSVs are on 40um pitch and show a 9um KOZ (keep out zone)


Intel – Enabling IC Scaling, Miniaturization and System Integration through Adv Packaging

Islam Salama of Intel joined the bandwagon that some of us reached years ago when it became clear that Moore’s Law WAS coming to an end. That is – future product advances / differentiation will come from advanced packaging technologies.

He offered the following slide to support his premise that packaging substrates are becoming an integral part of product performance.

Intel 1

Even more interesting was this comparison of the densities achievable with some of today’s more popular high density packaging technologies. He concludes that panel level technology and die last approaches offer a path for technology scaling and affordability.

Intel 2

For all the latest in 2.5/3DIC and other advanced packaging, stay linked to IFTLE…


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