The Power of Communication
Posted date : Oct 31, 2007

Freescale is the world leader in integrated communications processors. Here’s why the new generation PowerQUICC® series is on SOI.

Freescale’s PowerQUICC® family of integrated communications processors go into the world’s leading enterprise routers, wireless LANs, base stations, media gateways, network storage and industrial electronics. For us, that means ensuring the highest level of integration possible with the greatest flexibility to the customer while meeting reliability metrics at the lowest power.

Our customers are developing new generations of networking infrastructure equipment and solutions. They need processors that offer ultra-high performance, multiple system interface options, and outstanding price-to-performance ratios in a small footprint. This is in the face of evershrinking power budgets due to cost, longevity, or governmental regulations such as Energy Star™.

None of these requirements are easy to overcome in bulk silicon. In contrast, SOI offers Freescale designers the room, quite literally, to design in the peripherals required by our customers without growing the die size.

In the envelope

SOI not only provides a speed boost at the same voltage, it also ensures the data flowing across the device is correct by reducing soft errors.

And perhaps most importantly in today’s applications, SOI offers a greater improvement of transistor leakage than those made in bulk silicon. This affects the power dramatically.

The basic tradeoff with SOI is higher performance at the same power of bulk or same performance at a lower power. Freescale designers opt for the latter with nominal voltages of our PowerQUICC® III family of 1.1 to 1.0V. This minuscule nominal voltage increases our power saving even more by decreasing the dynamic power because of smaller voltage swings than what would be required of bulk for the same performance.

SOI offers another benefit over bulk in that latchup is not a concern. Because this concern exists in bulk, the p- and n- wells must be spaced further away than in SOI. Moreover, there must be structures between the p- and n- wells to help with the isolation. SOI gives us this isolation at a greatly smaller dimension, allowing all the structures to sit closer together.

In conclusion, the PowerQUICC III Family offers higher performance, higher integration, within a smaller power envelop due the benefits of SOI.

Freescale’s SOI Milestones


SOI capability confirmed with wafers, models & design manuals


Somerset project with IBM & Apple accelerates active SOI research


First shipments of SOI-based G4s (MPC7455, 130nm SOI)


First million SOI-chips shipped


PowerQUICC III series announced (90nm SOI)


Hybrid strained SOI technology announced


Freescale joins IBM technologyalliance for 45nm SOI and beyond

Sampling of industry’s first quad-core DSPs (4GHz, 90nm SOI)

The MPC8544 shown here is one of Freescale’s new generation of highly integrated, customized System-on-Chip PowerQUICC III solutions, which are based on SOI, for the printing and imaging, broadband, network, and storage markets. (Courtesy: Freescale)

Embedded Planet’s EP85xxM uses Freescale’s PowerQUICC III processors to create a configurable, full featured PrPMC board targeted at rapid development of networking and telecommunication applications. (Courtesy: Embedded Planet)

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