ARM marches forward with FinFET 64-bit processors

TSMC and ARM have clinched a multi-year agreement to extend ongoing collaboration beyond the realm of 20-nanometer (nm) technology and deliver ARM chips on FinFET transistors.

An ARM spokesperson told TG Daily the collaboration will optimize the next generation of 64-bit ARM processors based on the ARMv8 architecture, ARM Artisan physical intellectual property (IP) and TSMC’s FinFET process for use in mobile and enterprise markets – both of which require high performance and energy efficiency. 

“Based on the low-power ARMv8 architecture announced at TechCon 2011, and TSMC’s FinFET process technology, the collaboration will result in improved silicon process, physical IP and processor technology that together will enable new system-on-chip innovation and shortened time-to-market,” said the spokesperson.

“For consumers and enterprises, this means mobile devices and severs that can run demanding applications utilizing low-power cores.”

Indeed, TSMC’s advanced FinFET process offers significant speed and power improvements, along with salient leakage reduction.  

As noted above, ARMv8 architecture boasts a new energy-efficient 64-bit execution state to meet the performance demands of high-end mobile, enterprise and server applications. As expected, the 64-bit architecture was designed specifically to enable energy-efficient implementations.

Similarly, the 64-bit memory addressing and high-end performance are necessary to enable enterprise computing and network infrastructure that are fundamental for the mobile and cloud-computing markets.

“This collaboration brings two industry leaders together earlier than ever before to optimize our FinFET process with ARM’s 64-bit processors and physical IP,” added TSMC VP Cliff Hou.

“We can successfully achieve targets for high speed, low voltage and low leakage, thereby satisfying the requirements of our mutual customers and meeting their time-to-market goals.”  

In other ARM related news, the UK-based ChannelBiz confirmed Boston Limited recently began shipping its Viridis servers – the first using ARM’s low power chip designs.

“Boston says that the Viridis servers are the first of a new generation servers which will use chip designs from British firm ARM, forming the basis of its Calxeda Energy Core SoCs,” writes Matthew Finnegan of ChannelBiz.

“With a power consumption of just five watts per SoC, the chips are aimed at providing access to supercomputer performance but with only a fraction of the power drain. [This means] Boston Viridis servers offer much lower energy consumption – around a tenth – of traditional x86 designs, which then impacts the cost of power consumption.”