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23 July, 2012 - 11:03 By Tony Quested

ARM silicon move absolutely fabless

Simon Segars

Cambridge UK superchip innovator ARM and world-leading Taiwan foundry TSMC are collaborating to optimise next generation 64-bit ARM processors for FinFET Process Technology.

The multi-year collaboration will have widespread benefits, the partners say.

It will enable sharing of technical information and feedback between the two companies. It will also result in improved silicon process, physical IP and processor technology to enable new SoC innovation and shorten time to market.

The move extends the partners’ collaboration beyond 20-nanometer (nm) technology to deliver ARM processors on FinFET transistors, enabling the fabless industry to extend its market leadership in application processors.

The alliance will optimise future 64-bit ARM® processors based on the ARMv8 architecture, ARM Artisan® physical intellectual property, and TSMC’s FinFET process technology for use in mobile and enterprise markets that require both high performance and energy efficiency. ARM says it will leverage process information to optimise the power, performance and area (PPA) of the overall solution to reduce risk and encourage early adoption.

TSMC will use the latest ARM processors and technology to benchmark and tune advanced FinFET process technologies. The combination of TSMC FinFET technology and ARMv8 architecture provides the fabless industry with solutions for continued innovation across diverse market segments, the partners say.

TSMC’s FinFET process promises impressive speed and power improvements as well as leakage reduction. All of these advantages overcome challenges that have become critical barriers to further scaling of advanced SoC technology.

ARM processors and physical IP will be able to leverage these attributes to maintain market leadership, while the companies’ mutual customers can benefit from these improvements for their new, innovative SoC designs. “By working closely with TSMC, we are able to leverage TSMC’s ability to quickly ramp volume production of highly integrated SoCs in advanced silicon process technology,” said Simon Segars, executive vice president and general manager, Processor and Physical IP Divisions, ARM.

“The ongoing deep collaboration with TSMC provides customers earlier access to FinFET technology to bring high-performance, power-efficient products to market.”


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