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Globalfoundries, ARM tape out 20nm chip

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:TQV? Cortex-A series? 20nm chip?

Globalfoundries Inc. and ARM Holdings plc have announced the tape out of a 20nm chip. The companies also demoed a Cortex-A9 SoC operating at more than 2.5GHz on 28nm technology.

Globalfoundries said the tape out was a milestone for its Technology Qualification Vehicle (TQV), which it has worked closely on with ARM, and that it was "more than a standard test chip."

TQV is what Globalfoundries is calling a strategy to develop process technology specifically optimized for ARM Cortex-A series processors.

The fab said each TQV was designed to emulate a full specification SoC and aimed to improve performance, lower power consumption and facilitate a faster path to market for its customers.

Mojy Chian, senior vice president of design enablement at Globalfoundries, said it was clear the firm's TQV strategy was "paying dividends" at 32nm and 28nm HKMG technology by delivering on its goals for performance and energy efficiency.

Chian added that the fab would continue to work closely with ARM on TQV "as an integral part of 20nm process technology development" allowing customers to ramp more rapidly to next-generation designs based on ARM Cortex-A series processors in high-volume production.

Globalfoundries has said its 20nm platform is designed to improve performance by up to 35 percent and almost halve power consumption compared with its 28nm technologies.

As to the firm's 2.5GHz performance on 28nm, Globalfoundries said the result had been achieved at the company's Dresden, Germany fab on its high performance offerings. A further performance increase is expected on the firm's 28nm High Performance Plus (HPP) platform targeted at the wired networking applications market, owing to its low active power and an operating point of 0.85V.

Analysts have said the announcement is a positive sign from Globalfoundries in a year that has been both difficult and turbulent for the firm.

"It's a good proof point that they are moving forward for other customers, but they still need to answer the doubts about being able to handle their existing issues with existing customers," said InStat's Jim McGregor.

- Sylvie Barak
??EE Times

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