LONDON – ARM and IBM have announced an extension to their existing collaboration to allow ARM produce physical and processor IP tuned to IBM's manufacturing process down to 14-nm.
IBM manufacturing process research is also closely aligned to processes produced by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and GlobalFoundries Inc. through the common platform alliance. This stands as a rival camp to advanced manufacturing processes produced by Intel.
Today's agreement extends access for ARM to continue a systematic test chip roadmap and assure early time-to-market readiness for nodes ranging from 20-nm through 14-nm, ARM said. However, it did not indicate when 20- or 14-nm processes, or chips made with them, would be available.
Through this agreement ARM and IBM will collaboratively develop design platforms aligning the manufacturing process, microprocessor and physical IP design teams, ARM said. This is intended to minimize the risk and barriers to migrating to smaller geometries while enabling optimized density, performance, power and yield in advanced SoC designs; accelerating the introduction of advanced electronics into the marketplace.
"The ARM Cortex processor family has become the leadership platform for the majority of smart phones and many other emerging mobile devices," said Michael Cadigan, general manager, IBM Microelectronics, in a statement issued by ARM. "We plan to continue working closely with ARM and our foundry customers to speed the momentum of ARM technology by delivering highly advanced, low-power semiconductor technology for a variety of new communications and computing devices."
"IBM has a proven track record of delivering the core research and development that is relied upon by major semiconductor vendors worldwide for their advanced semiconductor devices. Their leadership of the ISDA alliance, which features a diverse set of top-tier companies as members, is growing in importance as consolidation trends in the semiconductor manufacturing industry continue," said Simon Segars, executive vice president and general manager, ARM physical IP division, in the same statement.
ARM and IBM have been collaborating since 2008 on 32- and 28-nm nodes and ARM has delivered 11 test chips that provide concrete research structures and early silicon validation. In addition, ARM has developed specific optimizations targeting ARM processor cores including most recently a complete ARM Cortex-A9 processor core implemented on 32-nm high-k netal gate technology.