JULY 15, 2009 -- NetLogic Microsystems Inc. (search Lightwave for NetLogic), a designer and developer of knowledge-based processors and high-speed ICs, and semiconductor foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC; search Lightwave for TSMC) have announced their collaboration on 40nm-G semiconductor process technology for NetLogic Microsystems' next-generation advanced knowledge-based processors and 10/40/100-Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) physical layer (PHY) devices. NetLogic Microsystems says it is one of first companies to tape out and sample multiple silicon products in the foundry's advanced 40-nm technology node.
Growth in broadband services and rich media content has resulted in significant bandwidth demands on carrier optical transport networks (OTNs), as well as access aggregation networks for PON, DSL, cable, 3G/4G mobile wireless, and WiMAX. Data center network managers are moving to increase network throughputs to 40/100G in order to support video, peer-to-peer, and virtualization services. Compared with 65 nm, 40-nm technology offers 50% smaller die size, 30% lower power, and 30% higher performance.
NetLogic Microsystems is currently sampling its NLP2040 and NLP3040 single-die quad-port 10GbE PHY devices for next-generation switches, routers, and blade servers addressing the data center, enterprise networking, storage, and service provider markets. The company is also sampling the NLP10000, reportedly the industry's first 100GbE PHY, which is also manufactured in the advanced 40-nm process and offers scalability for data center as well as metro and long-haul applications that require a 10x increase in performance and maximized energy efficiency.
The chip supplier will be taping out its next-generation knowledge-based processor, the NL11000 device, in the foundry's process. The company has developed a suite of custom circuits around TSMC's 40-nm node to include high-speed serial interface technology, analog and clocking circuitry, core processing elements, and other standard cells, as well as refining the design and tape-out flow for this node.
This collaboration extends the relationship between TSMC and NetLogic Microsystems on the use of advanced half-node technologies, including 55, 80, and 110 nm. The companies expect to broaden their cooperation to include the multicore, multithreaded processor product line from RMI Corp., with which NetLogic Microsystems has entered into a definitive agreement to merge. RMI's recently announced XLP processor is also being designed on TSMC's 40nm-G technology. The merger with RMI is expected to close by the end of 3Q09.
"We are delighted to once again be working with NetLogic Microsystems as one of the lead customers for our advanced 40-nm technology node," says Rick Cassidy, president of TSMC North America. "The performance, cost, and power benefits of our advanced 40-nm technology will provide significant benefits to the innovative technologies in NetLogic Microsystems' industry-leading knowledge-based processors, 10/40/100G PHY solutions, and RMI's advanced multicore, multithreaded processors, enabling Tier 1 OEMs to develop next-generation systems that power tomorrow's Internet networks."
NetLogic Microsystems is now sampling its NL11000 product in 40 nm and has starting shipments of its quad-port 10GbE PHY and 100GbE PHY in 40 nm.
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