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Globalfoundries tapes out 28nm ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core chip

Posted on Thursday, September 02 2010 @ 16:55:04 CEST by

Lots of announcements from Globalfoundries, one of them being that the company has manufactured the first 28nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processors. Compared to the current 40nm process, these new chips promise a 40 percent performance increase, 30 percent lower power consumption, and double the standby battery life. These new ARM chips will offer frequencies of up to 2.5GHz.
At today’s inaugural Global Technology Conference, GLOBALFOUNDRIES announced it has taped-out a qualification vehicle based on the ARM® Cortex-A9 dual processor [(LSE: ARM); (Nasdaq: ARMH)], an industry first on 28nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) technology. This Technology Qualification Vehicle (TQV) will allow GLOBALFOUNDRIES to optimize its 28nm HKMG process for customer designs based on the next-generation dual-core ARM processor, providing a faster path to market for foundry customers developing the computing devices of tomorrow.

The jointly developed TQV reached the tapeout stage in August at GLOBALFOUNDRIES Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany and was a part of the strategic collaboration with ARM announced last year. Silicon results are expected back from the fab in late 2010.

“This is a significant milestone on the road to high-volume 28nm manufacturing and technology leadership for next-generation products ranging from smart mobile devices to high-performance wired applications,” said Mojy Chian, senior vice president of design enablement at GLOBALFOUNDRIES. “By working closely with ARM in the early stages of technology qualification, we will enable our customers to rapidly bring their ARM Cortex-A9 designs with ARM physical IP to production by setting a new standard for performance and power-efficiency.”

The TQV design uses a fully optimized ARM Cortex-A9 physical IP suite, including a full range of standard cell libraries, high-speed cache memory macros for L1 and density-optimized memories in other areas. It is designed to emulate a product-like system-on-chip (SoC) in every way, allowing for maximum frequency analysis and short turnaround time between design cycles. A complete range of Design for Testability (DFT) features enables Silicon-Spice correlation of Cortex-A9 critical paths and bit-mapping of cache memories at gigahertz speed.

“As the industry adopts increasingly advanced process technologies, there is a growing need for close collaboration between design and manufacturing,” said Simon Segars, ARM, executive vice president and general manager, Physical IP Division. “The combination of ARM’s leading physical IP solutions and GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ proven experience in high-volume manufacturing will deliver a powerful platform for innovation. Our partnership will enable customers to rapidly bring high-performance, low-power ARM technology-based designs to market on 28nm HKMG technology.”

The TQV will be based on GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28nm High Performance (HP) technology targeted at high-performance wired applications. The collaboration also will include the 28nm High Performance Plus (HPP) technology for both wired and high-performance mobile applications, and the Super Low Power (SLP) technology for power-sensitive mobile and consumer applications. All technologies feature GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ innovative Gate First approach to HKMG. The approach is superior to other 28nm HKMG solutions in both scalability and manufacturability, offering a substantially smaller die size and cost, as well as compatibility with proven design elements and process flows from previous technology nodes.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and ARM first unveiled the details of their leading-edge SoC platform technology in Q3 2009. The companies project the new chip manufacturing platform will enable a 40 percent increase in computing performance, a 30 percent decrease in power consumption, and a 100 percent increase in standby battery life when compared to the 40nm technology generation.



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