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Tuesday, October 18, 2011
ARM and TSMC Tape Out First 20nm ARM Cortex-A15 Processor

ARM and TSMC today announced that they have taped out the first 20nm ARM Cortex-A15 MPCore processor. The two companies completed the implementation from RTL to tape out in six months.

Building on this tape out, ARM said that it would optimize its physical IP technology to specific TSMC 20nm process technologies for Power, Performance and Area (PPA), driving the specification of the Cortex-A15 Processor Optimization Pack (POP). The company did not say how soon this would be completed. ARM also claims that TSMC's 20nm process provides more than a 2X performance increase over preceding generations.

"This first 20nm ARM Cortex-A15 tape out paves the way for the next generation of SoC integration and performance," said Mike Inglis, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Processor Division, ARM. "We value the work carried out between ARM, TSMC and its design ecosystem partners to achieve this milestone. It is a strong testimonial of our mutual commitment to provide industry leading technology for advanced node designs. The combination of TSMC technology, the latest ARM Cortex-A15 processor and Artisan physical IP will help meet the increasing demand for high performance, energy-efficient consumer devices."

"Our ongoing collaboration with ARM has resulted in this early 20nm achievement," said Dr. Cliff Hou, TSMC Vice President, Design and Technology Platform. "Our customers can successfully engage in fast-growth markets with optimized physical IP, Cortex-A15 processors and TSMC's advanced technology."

The Cortex-A15 processor's low-power, high-performance and advanced feature set is suited to 20nm process implementations. Resulting SoCs will be aimed at smartphones, tablets, mobile computing, high-end digital home, servers, and wireless infrastructure.

Separately Cadence Design Systems Inc. also today announced that its also helped with the design and that it used a Cadence RTL-to-sign-off design flow that was the result of 18 months work between ARM and Cadence.

ARM makes use of Cadence tools for design work and the two companies are working to optimize ARM processors and Cadence design flows so they work well together, Cadence said.

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