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ARM 20 nm Processors Expected to Arrive Next Year

By - Source: Good Gear Guide | B 27 comments

The chip manufacturing race is heating up and Intel could be facing more pressure down the road.

ARM's Simon Segars, general manager of processor and physical IP divisions, said that ARM-based 20 nm SoCs could be appearing in smartphones as early as late 2013. Given the fact that 28 nm chips are still in short supply, the move to 20 nm within 12 - 18 months is rather quick.

Intel is placing big bets on its manufacturing technology to compete with ARM chip makers. The current Medfield 32 nm will see a new 22 nm chip next year, which will be replaced again with a 14 nm SoC in 2014, according to Intel's roadmap.

"The whole industry is focused on moving to the next generation as soon as it's economically viable and technologically achievable," Segars told press at Computex in Taipei. There is no information to back up Segars' prediction, but it is common sense to expect such notes given ARM's huge exposure at this year's Computex as Windows RT arrives and a number of ARM-based Windows notebooks are shown. As ARM's profile grows, however, greater investments in manufacturing are likely and a 20 nm forecast for 2013 may not be so unrealistic.

ARM's revenue has been just $294.9 million for the first two quarters of its current fiscal year, but the IP company said that more than 1.9 billion processors based on its blueprints were shipped globally during the time. 1.1 billion chips went into mobile phones and tablets.

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  • 10 Hide
    blazorthon , June 5, 2012 11:19 PM
    process_orIf Atom's gains going to 22nm are as trivial as the gains from Sandy to Ivy, then 22nm Atoms still won't be competitive with Tegra 3, let alone Tegra 6 or whatever will be out then.Process technology is a crutch, if 22nm is this pointless, 14nm is going to be bad times for Intel.


    Intel's 22nm process worked excellently for Ivy Bridge. It lowered power consumption substantially and that was the point of it. Intel skimped on overclocking by replacing the fluxless solder that is usually between the IHS and the CPU die with poor quality paste, but that has nothing to do with the 22nm process itself. Ivy also isn't much faster than Sandy, but Ivy was just a die shrink. Die shrinks don't increase performance much at all. They never do. Shrinking the die gives room for a better architecture. The 22nm tock for Intel will be Haswell. Haswell is supposedly going to have substantial performance improvements like the previous tocks have had and it will do it all on the 22nm node.

    22nm isn't pointless. It did exactly what it was supposed to do (lowered power consumption) and it did it well. 14nm will probably do it again too.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    psikaikai , June 5, 2012 10:30 PM
    Yay competition with the Intel monopoly
  • -5 Hide
    TheBigTroll , June 5, 2012 10:32 PM
    hopefully, arm will become the new amd
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 5, 2012 10:33 PM
    If Atom's gains going to 22nm are as trivial as the gains from Sandy to Ivy, then 22nm Atoms still won't be competitive with Tegra 3, let alone Tegra 6 or whatever will be out then.

    Process technology is a crutch, if 22nm is this pointless, 14nm is going to be bad times for Intel.
  • 2 Hide
    nocteratus , June 5, 2012 11:01 PM
    Going to 22nm or smaller will lower power consumption and heat!

    A tablet with 1 or 2 more hours of battery life will be better. And smartphones won't get hot while talking.
  • 10 Hide
    blazorthon , June 5, 2012 11:19 PM
    process_orIf Atom's gains going to 22nm are as trivial as the gains from Sandy to Ivy, then 22nm Atoms still won't be competitive with Tegra 3, let alone Tegra 6 or whatever will be out then.Process technology is a crutch, if 22nm is this pointless, 14nm is going to be bad times for Intel.


    Intel's 22nm process worked excellently for Ivy Bridge. It lowered power consumption substantially and that was the point of it. Intel skimped on overclocking by replacing the fluxless solder that is usually between the IHS and the CPU die with poor quality paste, but that has nothing to do with the 22nm process itself. Ivy also isn't much faster than Sandy, but Ivy was just a die shrink. Die shrinks don't increase performance much at all. They never do. Shrinking the die gives room for a better architecture. The 22nm tock for Intel will be Haswell. Haswell is supposedly going to have substantial performance improvements like the previous tocks have had and it will do it all on the 22nm node.

    22nm isn't pointless. It did exactly what it was supposed to do (lowered power consumption) and it did it well. 14nm will probably do it again too.
  • 2 Hide
    kronos_cornelius , June 5, 2012 11:21 PM
    Great to see competition back in the CPU market. My bet is on ARM given that it has a better business model. Intel, like Microsoft is weighted down by its own legacy and one could argue the arrogance of past success. But we consumers benefit if there is a long protracted battle between the two architectures and business models.
  • 0 Hide
    tomfreak , June 6, 2012 12:09 AM
    So when is the day I can get a half day of smartphone battery life by playing games?
    when is the day Smartphone can kill media player industry? cheap
  • 1 Hide
    blazorthon , June 6, 2012 12:14 AM
    TomfreakSo when is the day I can get a half day of smartphone battery life by playing games?when is the day Smartphone can kill media player industry? cheap


    Get an extended battery for your smart phone phone if there is one available. I recently got an extended battery for my older HTC Evo 4G and battery life increased incredibly.
  • 1 Hide
    bison88 , June 6, 2012 1:25 AM
    TomfreakSo when is the day I can get a half day of smartphone battery life by playing games?when is the day Smartphone can kill media player industry? cheap


    First Answer: When there is a revolutionary re-design of the battery. Things can only get so small and consume so little wattage before eventually things will need to re-shift focus back to the power source itself.

    Second Answer: Not quite sure what you're referencing specifically, but I'd say never. Smart Phones like many other computing devices are just accessories. There is no substitute, and I'd liken never will be a substitute, to the desktops performance, accessibility, and expandability. If this "cloud" crap keeps going the way it is, I see the desktop being the equivalent of the households server/supercomputer that takes care of all the heavy lifting for other devices used on the local network. Can't see any device out there now or in the near future that will make the desktop irrelevant, therefore why not use it in a cloud like environment to offload the more powerful energy draining tasks.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , June 6, 2012 1:41 AM
    bison88First Answer: When there is a revolutionary re-design of the battery. Things can only get so small and consume so little wattage before eventually things will need to re-shift focus back to the power source itself.Second Answer: Not quite sure what you're referencing specifically, but I'd say never. Smart Phones like many other computing devices are just accessories. There is no substitute, and I'd liken never will be a substitute, to the desktops performance, accessibility, and expandability. If this "cloud" crap keeps going the way it is, I see the desktop being the equivalent of the households server/supercomputer that takes care of all the heavy lifting for other devices used on the local network. Can't see any device out there now or in the near future that will make the desktop irrelevant, therefore why not use it in a cloud like environment to offload the more powerful energy draining tasks.


    I think that Tomfreak meant when can phones kill off MP3 players, iPods, etc.

    Also, expand-ability of a desktop might be unbeatable, but several laptops can most certainly compete in performance. These laptops don't when in price for the performance, but they are portable without lacking the performance of a desktop. There are several X58 and X79 laptops that support the workstation i7s (even up to the 6 core EEs) and up to 16GB or 32GB of RAM. A Laptop with two Radeon 7970Ms could have gaming performance ahead of the Radeon 7970.
  • 0 Hide
    shafe88 , June 6, 2012 2:35 AM
    TheBigTrollhopefully, arm will become the new amd

    How will ARM become the new AMD, when arm can't even compete in the x86 market. The only company that has a chance to become the new AMD is VIA which is highly unlikely. As long as AMD has their APU and value, I don't think any one has a chance of becoming the new AMD.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 6, 2012 3:07 AM
    It could come out as early as late 2013. Jeez that statement has a lot of ifs ands and buts. It could also come out sometime in 2014 which seems far more likely and with a lot less ifs ands and buts. I think they are just trying to generate excitement and interest by making bold boasting claims. Is there a 20nm manufacturing process in place? Is TSMC and Global Foundries fabbing up for 20nm? I would put my money on Intel being at 14nm before those guys get to 20nm. Also, what are the yields going to be like? I hear GlobalFoundries/IBM is going gate last for the next process. This is no easy transition and wouldn't doubt if they were behind doing this. TSMC already has gate last, but no 3D/finfet, and their yields are scary bad. That problem isn't going to be solved at 20nm and in fact may worsen. Anyway, lets just say I am skeptical at best. 2014 will be interesting though if ARM does get 20nm out and competing against Intel at 14nm. We will see some serious low power performance CPUs.
  • -2 Hide
    ojas , June 6, 2012 4:37 AM
    process_orIf Atom's gains going to 22nm are as trivial as the gains from Sandy to Ivy, then 22nm Atoms still won't be competitive with Tegra 3, let alone Tegra 6 or whatever will be out then.Process technology is a crutch, if 22nm is this pointless, 14nm is going to be bad times for Intel.

    FYI, the present 32nm Atom is a die shrink of the Core 2 arch. So basically jumping to 22nm Haswell/Ivy next year would be like going from Core 2 to Ivy/Haswell. Big gains there, not pointless.
  • 0 Hide
    tomfreak , June 6, 2012 7:44 AM
    blazorthonI think that Tomfreak meant when can phones kill off MP3 players, iPods, etc.Also, expand-ability of a desktop might be unbeatable, but several laptops can most certainly compete in performance. These laptops don't when in price for the performance, but they are portable without lacking the performance of a desktop. There are several X58 and X79 laptops that support the workstation i7s (even up to the 6 core EEs) and up to 16GB or 32GB of RAM. A Laptop with two Radeon 7970Ms could have gaming performance ahead of the Radeon 7970.
    thanks to clarifying.

    1. The thing is now we got these media players like WDTV which is basically allow the user to play back 1080p movies.
    2.We have reach 32-64GB flash memory, so having 256-512GB flash memory isnt far off. We WILL likely to be staying on 1080p for quite a while. With 512GB storage I can store almost 50 1080p .mkv movie titles.
    3. If I recall we already have smart phone capable to playback 1080p.
    4. Now, the only problem is these hardware are expensive, battery life arent going to keep up for at least half a day on movie playback/gaming.
    5. If the smartphone company able to bring down cost to $150 @ those kind of spec, and making the battery life last half a day. Smartphone can easily kill of the media player market.

    Think about this, all I need is to store 50 movie titles and bring it to hotel/my friend's home and plug it into HDTV for full playback/gaming etc and play at least half a day without additional batteries + recharging.
  • -1 Hide
    rantoc , June 6, 2012 9:13 AM
    nocteratusGoing to 22nm or smaller will lower power consumption and heat!A tablet with 1 or 2 more hours of battery life will be better. And smartphones won't get hot while talking.


    You wont get that much, the shardholders and board however will when they can save cost on the batteries!
  • -1 Hide
    silverblue , June 6, 2012 9:27 AM
    ojasFYI, the present 32nm Atom is a die shrink of the Core 2 arch. So basically jumping to 22nm Haswell/Ivy next year would be like going from Core 2 to Ivy/Haswell. Big gains there, not pointless.

    I don't think so. If that was the case, AMD's "90% performance of K8" Bobcat APUs wouldn't be beating it clock-for-clock. As far as I remember, Atom is still in-order as well.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , June 6, 2012 11:24 AM
    silverblueI don't think so. If that was the case, AMD's "90% performance of K8" Bobcat APUs wouldn't be beating it clock-for-clock. As far as I remember, Atom is still in-order as well.


    It's a somewhat cut down version, likely at least partially due to much smaller amounts of cache and having only one core in most current designs, among a few other reasons... However, it is a variant of the Core 2 arch.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , June 6, 2012 11:28 AM
    Tomfreakthanks to clarifying. 1. The thing is now we got these media players like WDTV which is basically allow the user to play back 1080p movies. 2.We have reach 32-64GB flash memory, so having 256-512GB flash memory isnt far off. We WILL likely to be staying on 1080p for quite a while. With 512GB storage I can store almost 50 1080p .mkv movie titles. 3. If I recall we already have smart phone capable to playback 1080p. 4. Now, the only problem is these hardware are expensive, battery life arent going to keep up for at least half a day on movie playback/gaming.5. If the smartphone company able to bring down cost to $150 @ those kind of spec, and making the battery life last half a day. Smartphone can easily kill of the media player market.Think about this, all I need is to store 50 movie titles and bring it to hotel/my friend's home and plug it into HDTV for full playback/gaming etc and play at least half a day without additional batteries + recharging.


    We're quite a ways off from that happening. That would mean that a very multi-purpose device (the smart phone) has to not only increase in storage size almost exponentially, but also do it while becoming several times cheaper for that much storage so that it can beat a deice that is designed for that purpose.

    Using an extended battery, battery life, even while watching movies, could theoretically last for much more than half a day.
  • 0 Hide
    silverblue , June 6, 2012 11:30 AM
    Very cut down. Going OoO should, at the very least, improve performance noticably.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , June 6, 2012 11:32 AM
    silverblueVery cut down. Going OoO should, at the very least, improve performance noticably.


    Pentium Dual-Core CPUs might be more comparable in performance to the Medfields at the same frequency given clock frequency with only one active core and the same memory bandwidth. These are cut-down versions of the Core 2 Duo CPUs, although probably not as cut down as Medfield considering that Medfield is only one or two process nodes away despite using more than an order of magnitude less power. Even only having a somewhat lower frequency and one core isn't enough to make that change.
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