LONDON – IP licensor ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England) and foundry chip maker GlobalFoundries Inc. (Milpitas, Calif.) have announced they have signed a multi-year agreement to work together to optimize system-on-chip processor designs – including graphics – on 20-nm and FinFET manufacturing processes.
One expected outcome of the agreement is a "rapid transition" from 20-nm planar to FinFET production. The two companies did not disclose a timetable for the commercial introduction of 20-LPM or FinFET processes by GlobalFoundries.
The deal comes a few weeks after ARM and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (Hsinchu, Taiwan) announced a similar deal that covered 64-bit ARM processor cores for FinFET process technologies beyond the 20-nm node (see ARM, TSMC sign deal to ease FinFET introduction).
The deal with GlobalFoundries covers the 20-LPM manufacturing process as well as FinFET processes. It also extends beyond previous agreements between the two companies by covering ARM's Mali graphics processors.
ARM has agreed to develop a platform of Artisan physical IP including standard cell libraries, memory compilers and processor-optimization packages (POPs) for the GlobalFoundries processes.
ARM and GlobalFoundries have worked together for several years on Cortex-A series processors including demonstrations at 28-nm and a test chip at 20-nm currently running through GlobalFoundries' fab in Malta, New York.
"This early engagement promotes the rapid adoption of ARM and GlobalFoundries technologies in future SoCs for several important markets," said Simon Segars, executive vice president and general manager of the processor and physical IP divisions at ARM, in a statement. "By proactively working together to enable next-generation 20nm-LPM and FinFET process technologies, our mutual customers can be assured a range of implementation options that will enable two more generations of advanced semiconductor devices."
The 20-LPM process from GlobalFoundries is being designed to serve a broad range of power and performance points across high-volume markets, ARM said.
IP providers like ARM will work with all the leading foundries. (right now, TSMC & GF) They definitely would not exclude a top foundry.
I'm sure ARM will have tight restrictions on information sharing between those projects.
It would be significant if they also do something similar with Samsung.
I really hope there is room to other competitors, ARM has build an impressive portfolio and a collaborative environment, however, the customer will lose in the long run without real competition to ARM. Same argument is valid for TSMC and GFI as well.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.