ARM and GlobalFoundries announce 20nm FinFET partnership

ARM is further pressing ahead in FinFET technology – going into partnership with GlobalFoundries shortly after it announced a collaboration with TSMC to work on 64-bit FinFET servers.

The two have agreed on a multi year agreement for system on chip ARM processors using GloFo’s 20nm and FinFET process technologies. They have been working together on the Cortex platform for some time, including 20nm testing at GloFo’s Malta fab. This announcement essentially extends their work on driving IP to consumer designs on 20nm, as well  as promoting 3D FinFET transistor technology. “This joint development will enable a faster time to delivering SoC for customers using next-generation ARM CPUs and GPUs in mobil devices,” the companies said in a joint statement.

ARM believes that its own POP technology, along with 20nm-LPM and FinFET, will deliver more advanced, energy efficient, and faster semiconductor devices. POP has artisan IP standard cell libraries and memory cache instances, specifically designed for the ARM processor and the foundry technology. It also includes benchmarking reports to note the conditions and results gained through processor implementation across a range of configurations and design targets, as well as design utilities, floor plans, scripts, and a POP implementation guide, which lets customers evaluate their designs quickly and at a low risk, ARM claims.

When asked why GlobalFoundries was the company of choice for FinFET, a spokesperson told us that there are several key points.

Speaking with TechEye, Jason Gorss of GlobalFoundries, said that the company has over 10 years of R&D to build FinFETs on, as well as the common platform partnership with IBM and Samsung, meaning the company owns over three quarters of the industry patents on the technology. “We are confident that this heritage of deep R&D will allow us to lead the foundry volume ramp of FinFETs as we did with High K Metal Gate,” Gorss said.

According to Gorss, observers will find a “high level of synergy” between GloFo’s 20nm planar and FinFET, “which means we will be able to offer our customers the fastest path to FinFET with the least amount of risk”.

“We have developed a new approach to technology definition that will allow us to offer a cost-effective and power optimised FinFET technology that is ideally suited for the mobile market,” Gorss said.