On Tuesday ARM and TSMC announced that they have successfully completed the first tape-out of a 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57 processor on 16-nm FinFET process technology. Yes, your tablet and smartphone just became even more obsolete.
According to the British mobile chip designer, it took six months for both parties to jointly move from RTL to tape-out. They used ARM's Artisan physical IP, TSMC memory macros, and EDA technologies enabled by TSMC's Open Innovation Platform (OIP) design ecosystem. ARM said this is its highest performing processor yet, ideal for compute intensive applications such as high-end computer, tablet and server products.
The tape-out is the first milestone in their collaboration to jointly optimize the 64-bit ARMv8 processor series on TSMC FinFET process technologies. It follows their previous collaboration in the 64-bit arena with the 20-nm FinFET process technology that began back in 2012.
"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," said Tom Cronk, executive vice president and general manager, Processor Division, ARM.
The new Cortex-A57 is now ready for mass production, and promises three times the CPU power of current chips like Samsung's Exynos 5, but with the same battery life. It can be be implemented individually, or paired with the Cortex-A53 processor into an ARM big.LITTLE configuration that enables scalable performance and optimal energy-efficiency.
"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," Cronk added.
ARM said early adopters can now implement the new 16-nm Corterx-A57 chip into their designs. We'll likely see resulting devices in the latter half of 2013.