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TSMC tapes out ARM Cortex A57 using 16nm FinFET transistors

Claims it is closer to 64-bit ARMv8 chips
Tue Apr 02 2013, 14:16
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CHIP FOUNDRY TSMC has taped out the first ARM Cortex A57 chip using its 16nm FinFET process node.

Chip design outfit ARM works closely with TSMC and Globalfoundries to optimise its designs for specific process nodes in order to lower costs for smaller chip designers. Now TSMC has announced that it has taped out an ARM Cortex A57 chip using its leading edge 16nm FinFET process node.

TSMC played up the announcement by claiming that this is the first step in producing ARMv8 processors on its 16nm FinFET process node. ARM's 64-bit ARMv8 architecture is widely seen by the chip industry as the architecture that will propel ARM and its licence holders into new markets such as servers and high performance computing.

Tom Cronk, EVP and GM of ARM's Processor Division said, "This first ARM Cortex A57 processor implementation paves the way for our mutual customers to leverage the performance and power efficiency of 16nm FinFET technology.

"The joint effort of ARM, TSMC, and TSMC's OIP design ecosystem partners demonstrates the strong commitment to provide industry leading technology for customer designs to benefit from our latest 64-bit ARMv8 architecture, Big Little processing and ARM POP IP across a wide variety of market segments."

Intel was the first major chip vendor to produce chips using FinFET transistors with its Ivy Bridge chips last year. While TSMC has yet to hit production ready status with its FinFET process node, a tapeout suggests that it isn't far from having commercially viable silicon. µ


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