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one track is approximately the minimum spacing between metal1 and metal1 via in a technology node . Track is generally used as a unit to define the height of the std cell. a 12 track cell will be taller than a 9 track cell. a 12 track std cell will be taller , that means more metal1 routing space is available within the cell, hence cells will be faster. where as in a 9 track cell, the cell will be compact, but speed is less compared to 12 track.
9track -> less area, less speed compared to 12 track
12tarck -> more area, more speed compared to 9 trac
Suppose you have a NAND gate. Now with same W/Ls of transitor if you make layout in 9 tracks and 12 tracks, then 12 track NAND gate layout would be somewhat in thinner but taller by 33.33%. Since it is taller that means there is more space horizontally available for routing over this 12 track cell compared to 9 track cell.