Near-threshold computing in FinFET technologies: Opportunities for improved voltage scalability


In recent years, operating at near-threshold supply voltages has been proposed to improve energy efficiency in circuits, yet decreased efficacy of dynamic voltage scaling has been observed in recent planar technologies. However, foundries have introduced a shift from planar to FinFET fabrication processes. In this paper, we study 7nm FinFET’s ability to voltage scale and compare it to planar technologies across three dynamic voltage scaling scenarios. The switch to FinFET allows for a return to strong voltage scalability. We find up to 8.6 × higher energy efficiency at NT compared to nominal supply voltage (vs. 4.8 × gain in 20nm planar).

2016 53nd ACM/EDAC/IEEE Design Automation Conference (DAC)