Picking a Process Technology

By Bill Isaacson on 06/10/2016

There is a wide array of process technologies and process options to choose from when developing a new circuit. Which one is best for your project? A good way to begin this analysis is to focus on what’s most important for your particular design.

Questions to ask include:

  • Does my project demand high performance or low power?
  • Is my power requirement driven by active or leakage power?
  • Does my project require IP that limits the process nodes I can consider? For example, PCIe G3 requires 40nm or finer geometry. DDR4 requires 28nm or finer geometry.

An analysis like this should narrow the possible technologies to a manageable few.

Next, you can begin to quantify the benefits to your project of various process options to solidify your choice. For example – when comparing two 28nm processes, one focuses on performance, one on low leakage. You want minimal total power for a given performance level running at 80 degrees C. Which is better?

You can first examine total power over temperature for the two processes as follows:


This analysis implies the blue process is a better fit. If we now look at performance over temperature, we see this same process provides superior results. The choice is clear.


These types of analysis can be easily generated with eSilicon’s design virtualization technology. We can help you find the right process and process options with this unique tool.