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TSMC, ARM validate big.LITTLE core on 16nm FinFET

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FinFET? 16nm? big.LITTLE? ARM Cortex?

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. marks another milestone in its 16nm FinFET (16FF) process technology as it revealed the results from a key silicon validation of the ARM big.LITTLE implementation using ARM Cortex A57 and A53 processors, following the successful manufacture of an ARM-based networking chip (see TSMC fabricates networking chip with 16nm FinFET).

According to a joint statement released by the two companies, silicon results on 16FF show the "big" Cortex A57 processor achieving 2.3GHz for sustained mobile peak performance, as well as the "LITTLE" Cortex A53 processor consuming only 75mW for most common workloads.

The performance improvements are a result of the collaboration between ARM and TSMC to jointly optimise the 64bit ARMv8-A processor series on FinFET process technologies and build on the successful tape-out of the Cortex A57 processor on TSMC's 16FF process last year.

TSMC's 16FF process claims twice the gate density of the foundry's 28nm HPM process, and operates more than 40 per cent faster at the same total power, or reduces total power over 60 per cent at the same speed.

Ongoing collaborative efforts are now focused on TSMC's 16FF+ process technology, which will deliver an additional 11 per cent gain in performance for the Cortex A57 at the same power as the 16FF process, along with a further 35 per cent power reduction for the Cortex A53 when running low-intensity applications.

This further increases the dynamic performance range and power savings for big.LITTLE platforms. 16FF+ is scheduled for release by the fourth quarter this year. Early big.LITTLE implementations of Cortex A57 and Cortex A53 processors on 16FF+ are supported by ARM POP IP technology.

- Julien Happich
??EE Times

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