LONDON – Processor and related intellectual property licensor ARM Holdings plc has expanded its range of processor optimization packs (POPs) available for 40-nm and 28-nm manufacturing processes from foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
While companies can licenses cores and architectures and then design SoCs but this can be a slow and expensive business. For the last two years ARM (Cambridge, England) has been licensing processor optimization packs (POPs) as additional support which demonstrates how to implement a core to achieve specific area, power, performance trade-offs.
The POP provides Artisan physical IP in the form of logic libraries and memory instances that are specifically tuned for a given ARM core and process technology. The POP includes a benchmarking report to document the exact conditions and results ARM achieved for the core implementation. Finally, it includes a design guide detailing how ARM achieved its results, to enable the end customer to achieve the same implementation quickly and at low risk, or to use it as a starting point for minor deviations.
ARM has now released nine additional POPs for the Cortex-A5, A7, A9 and A15 on several TSMC 40-nm and 28-nm processes. It also aids with completing multicore designs. The approach, which does not go as far as a hard macro, leaving developers the option to tweak designs, can still be used to reduced risk and improve time to market, ARM argues.
The company did not disclose the cost of the POP license fee either in absolute terms or in relation to a processor core license.
The addition of POPs for the Cortex-A7 and Cortex-A15 cores on TSMC's 28HPM process provides support for ARM's big-little tandem core processing solution. This allows background tasks to be supported on the power efficient A7 when equipment is dormant or under light load, but for processing to migrate to the higher performance A15 when workloads escalate. Support for big-little on TSMC 28HP high performance process is expected to follow soon.
ARM's lead licensee for the Cortex-A15 POP for TSMC 28nm HPM is
progressing toward the tape out of its first chip in the coming months,
ARM said. Click on image to enlarge.
Additions to ARM's range of processor optimization packs (POPs) include support for the A15-A7 combination on TSMC's 28HPM.
ARM's lead licensee for the Cortex-A15 POP for TSMC 28nm HPM is progressing toward the tape out of its first chip in the coming months, ARM said.
My guess is that this would have to be Nvidia and the Tegra 4. Samsung and Apple both use Samsung fabs and Qualcomm doesn't use the A15 core. That really only leaves TI and Nvidia. There's no way ST is the lead licensee with their NovaThor chip and I think Nvidia has higher volume than TI at this point.