Development History

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November, 2016
TRIPLE-1 , Inc. Established

A First Rate Team is formed.
For a World that needs「Made in Japan」

 

“Conventional products have too many defects in them. Can you develop a new mining machine for ‘Made in Japan?”

――― Amongst a world where Chinese made machines have the largest share, a small request like this was the start of the project.

First-class Development Engineers who have always lead the way in Japanese semiconductor development formed together, and a new development team was born. At that time, the cutting-edge mining machine was using a chip with 16nm process. In order for “Made in Japan” to be able to start a new era, the development of a chip with a much higher performance was necessary.

One Development Engineer said “If we are going to make the number one in the world, then it shouldn’t be 16nm or 12nm. There is no point in making it unless we are going to make it 7nm!”

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February, 2017
Beginning of Review of Development Specifications

“Is it too premature for  7 nm” ――― 
Doubting its possibility, everyone started on the making the best in the world.

 

It was February, 2017, when the review of Development Specifications began. At that time, nowhere in the world did “7nm” exist. The 7nm process chip, was still only in the research and development stage, and even among the world’s leading manufacturers there was no confirmation of when one would be available to the public. There were many pessimistic voices all around.

”It is too premature for 7nm.

Putting aside doubts of feasibility, the Development Engineers decided to only undertake the development of the “7nm”. From these dark beginnings arose the start of making the number one product in the world.

 

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kairo_en

There were no answers, only days of development.
That is what occurs when you make something never before seen in this world.

 

Of course, development of the world’s most advanced chip was not easy. Development into the unknown area of 7nm progressed, even though companies like TSMC, one of the world’s largest foundries, not having the necessary standard cell libraries or process evaluation values. It looked like making a plastic model without an idea of the finished design.

Days were spent not knowing what was right and what was wrong. However the team was unified under the design philosophy “Power and Power Efficiency decide the value of the machine.” Due to this “Power” and “Power Efficiency” become important issues in the development of the 7nm process.

 

Combining dozens of conditions, testing.
Exploring the best RTL design for mining.

 

Based on TSMC’s 7-nm voltage reference as a standard, the test was repeated using various voltage and frequency conditions. In mining applications, the balance between “Power” and “Power Efficiency” is important. Even with raw power like that of an F1 racing car engine, if the energy consumed is too large, you can not increase profit from mining.

A lot of time was spent on RTL optimization using theoretical values and implementation assumptions for the mining applications. At this time, reliability of the low voltage library was poor. “Creating the correct answers” to this problem also took time to overcome.

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Various Information flying around.
A fight similar to shadow boxing was waiting.

 

While “making the world’s best product,” we proceeded alone using only the theoretical barometric values as a guide. Each time we aimed at raising the spec value. Still, the Development Engineers faced serious problems each step of the way in areas such as mask set and wafer fabrication.


For the Development Engineers it seemed like they were shadow boxing an unknown enemy. However, they were confident. Along with that, the pride of creating something not see anywhere in the world.

 

January, 2018

Risk Mass Production at TSMC

February, 2018
Design completion(Tapeout)

1 year after Development specification review.
Finally, the arrival of “KAMIKAZE”

In February 2018, finally the design of 7 nm process adopted chips was completed (tape out).

The product name was “KAMIKAZE” – within the name the feeling of unwavering “preparedness” and “challenge” that came through from the beginning of development, and the feeling of “blowing a new wind into the world through manufacturing in Japan” are included.

Once again, we would like to make the world marvel at Japanese manufacturing.
With thoughts like this, such feelings, the development project shifted into the commercialization stage.

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May, 2018
Initial production wafer introduction

Our rivals are the supermassive companies of the world.
Race to secure a world level production line.

 

At that time TSMC was accepting only mass production (risk mass production) under the responsibility of the orderer, for the production of chips with 7 nm process adoption. Under such conditions, we decided to start risk mass production and stay with the same administration that we had from the beginning. In order to bring us shoulder to shoulder with the big brands of the world.

Still, we had a strong belief in ourselves.
―――”We want to let the world know about the KAMIKAZE Project”
After a lot of preparation, in May 2018 we completed the ordering of the initial mass production (wafer introduction).

August, 2018
Sample products are completed

From start to design completion, about 5 months.  
The sample products were completed as per the planned schedule.

 

About five months after tape out, we received delivery of silicon wafer, sample chip, sample board, and sample unit as per the original schedule. Finally it was the moment when “KAMIKAZE” first appeared.

Due to “KAMIKAZE” using the state-of-the-art technology called 7 nm process, it took more time from design completion to commercialization than other existing products.

“We want to see the finished product soon!”
More than any other person, we were longing for that moment.

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SAMPLE WAFER

SAMPLE WAFER

SAMPLE CHIP

SAMPLE CHIP

SAMPLE BOARD

SAMPLE BOARD

SAMPLE UNIT

SAMPLE UNIT

September, 2018
Function・Performance Verification Completed Release of mass production machine

The Development Engineers are relieved.
Finally “KAMIKAZE” has started to move.

 

Sample instruments that arrived were sent immediately to the verification process. It took a month before performance, capability, and the normal operation of the system could be checked and confirmed.


Will the world’s most advanced “7 nm” operate as designed?

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――― With mixed feelings of anxiety and expectation, “KAMIKAZE” started to work as originally designed.


Joy!


After coping with many difficulties. After searching for many correct answers.
Our goal of “Number 1 in the World” began to “Changing the world”.

Today is created by the challenge toward “impossible”.