First tape-out with TSMC’s 16nm FinFET and ARM’s 64-bit big.LITTLE Processors

Another important milestone was reached recently for TSMC and ARM when the teams taped out at the end of December 2013 (see block diagram) the first 64 bit ARMv8 processors in a big.LITTLE configuration on TSMC’s leading edge manufacturing process, 16nm FinFET. Why is this important? Not only is this the 2nd tape out under TMSC and ARM’s multi-year, multi-node collaboration agreement, which dates back to early 2012, but it yet again proves that best-in-class solutions for TSMC’s Open Innovation Platform® (OIP) can be achieved. Additionally the combination of big.LITTLE processing in a leading edge FinFET process will continue to ensure the TSMC/ARM partnership will set the pace on delivering new experiences available on mobile devices.

TSMC’s 16FinFET process offers significant improvement over 28HPM for high end mobile computing and networking. Since designs could gain over 40% faster speed at the same total power, or alternatively reduce over 55% in total power at the same speed over 28HPM, it made sense to use this process to implement a more complex test chip with ARM’s Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53

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