The multi-year agreement will see the two continue their partnership beyond the 20nm process to build ARM on FinFET transistors, which the British company is confident will build its leadership in application processors, leading the charge in the fabless industry.
ARM and TSMC will work on optimising 64-bit processors based on the ARMv8 architecture, along with TSMC’s FinFET process, and ARM’s Artisan physical IP. The chips will be aimed squarely at mobile and enterprise markets, which both hold high performance and energy efficiency as a high priority. The fabless industry will be able to make the most of improved silicon process, physical IP and processor technology.
This announcement may well shake Intel’s timbers. ARM has been looming on the periphery of the enterprise and server market for some time and it is expected its market share will creep up. The fact is, many companies prefer the flexible, more open model ARM offers – as fabless companies build on their SoCs as they see fit.
ARM claims that its v8 architecture is specifically designed with energy efficient 64 bit execution to offer high end performance for mobile, enterprise, and server applications. Of course, high energy efficiency has been ARM’s go-to selling point for some time.
According to the companies, TSMC’s FinFET process will offer serious gains in speed and power as well as leakage reduction. They claim that the advantages offered by TSMC and ARM’s technology will help advance further scaling of SoC technology.
With TSMC deemed “too big to fail” by one top chip analyst and ARM’s expertise in IP design it is tough to see how the collaboration would not be threatening for their rivals.
TSMC told TechEye that Intel is its customer and that relationship remains unchanged, however, it offers no further comment on its customer’s businesses.