ARM and TSMC complete design of 20nm processor

A15s just got smaller than they were last week

20nm is still a planar technology at TSMC.

ARM (LON:ARM) and TSMC (NYSE: TSM) have just completed the design of a test chip based on the Cortex-A15 processor design according to a press release from the companies.

The press release is not very specific about the details of the processor, which means that we don’t know anything about the number of cores and possible peripherals on the same die.

The completion of the test chip in planar technology comes at the same time that Intel is ramping up its 22nm process technology based on FinFET transistors – in Intel terminology also confusingly known as 3D transistors.

“This first 20-nm ARM Cortex-A15 tape out paves the way for the next generation of SoC integration and performance,” said Mike Inglis, general manager of ARM’s processor division, in the press release. These SoCs will be suitable for a whole range of devices all the way from  smartphones, tablet computers, digital home systems, servers to wireless infrastructure, ARM said in the press release.

According to the companies the chip design from RTL to “tape-out” in six months, using a design flow co-ordinated by TSMC. Cadence Design Systems Inc. apparently also felt the need for a bit of PR and sent out a separate press release pointing out that 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.

Next step for ARM is to optimise its 20nm processor IP for both performance and power consumption.S|A

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