ARM and TSMC collaborate on a multicore test chip in 10 nm FinFET

May 19, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
ARM and foundry TSMC say they have “fully validated [a] complete design enablement solution [that] includes IP, EDA tools, design flow and methodology to enable new customer tape-outs on TSMC’s most advanced FinFET process,” with a multicore test chip based on 10FinFET from TSMC.

ARM and TSMC have announced a multicore, 64-bit ARMv8-A processor test chip based on TSMC’s 10FinFET process technology. ARM’s statement notes the simulation benchmarks [that] show “impressive power and efficiency gains” relative to TSMC’s 16FinFET+ process technology, which is currently used to implement chips powering many of today’s leading premium smartphones.


The step reported is successful validation of the test chip, tape out having been completed in Q4 of 2015 and the to companies term it an important milestone in ARM and TSMC’s ongoing collaboration. SoC designers can, they assert, now use the foundation IP building blocks (standard cell libraries, embedded memories and standard I/Os) to develop SoCs for the highest possible performance with lowest power and area.


“Efficiency is a primary guiding principle in SoC design for premium mobile applications due to increasing demands on device performance,” said Pete Hutton, executive vice president and president of product groups, ARM. “TSMC’s 16FFLL+ process and ARM Cortex® processors have already set new standards for efficiency. Our collaboration with TSMC on 10FinFET ensures SoC-wide efficiency that will allow our silicon partners even greater room to innovate while staying within strict power budgets.”


The latest test chip develops ARM and TSMC’s initial 10FinFET partnership announced in October 2014. Mutual ARM and TSMC silicon partners have also gained early access to ARM Artisan physical IP and 16nm FinFET+ tape-outs of the ARM Cortex-A72 processor.