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Sub-Threshold ARM Chip on Track at Ambiq

9/19/2013 11:22 AM EDT
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elctrnx_lyf
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Re: Ambiq and ARM
elctrnx_lyf   9/22/2013 7:54:16 AM
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The quest for higher speed of operations has been the trend for last two decades and there was not much research efforts to find the right device solutions for the low speed digitals devices with really low sleep power consumption.

rick merritt
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Re: Ambiq and ARM
rick merritt   9/20/2013 12:53:16 PM
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Sounds like an interesting forking road ahead, and an interesting startup to watch.

It will be fascinating to see what sorts of designs such cores could enable.

Peter Clarke
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Re: Ambiq and ARM
Peter Clarke   9/20/2013 5:31:10 AM
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@Rick

Short answer, yes.

I get the impression that Ambiq is Cortex-M0+ development while ARM is doing next-gen core research.

NEAR versus SUB

But note well ARM's processor core is being optimized for energy harvest type use in a NEAR-threshold implementation. This makes sense if ARM wants TSMC to provide support with a process flow and be able to license the core widely.

On the other hand Ambiq is aggressively going after SUB threshold because they are prepared to back their design skills and take on the risk of working outside TSMC's design flow envelope.

Peter Clarke
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Re: Ambiq and ARM
Peter Clarke   9/20/2013 5:14:17 AM
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There is a UK company, Toumaz Ltd., that has used this technique but the company is focused at the system level in health-care products and consumer audio, having bought Frontier Silicon.

Peter Clarke
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Re: Ambiq and ARM
Peter Clarke   9/20/2013 5:11:15 AM
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There is a penalty on switching speed.

So you get less done but more power efficiently than using conventional design and voltages.

Hence the focus on extreme power-critical applications rather than on general purpose MCU.

LarryM99
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Re: Ambiq and ARM
LarryM99   9/19/2013 7:12:37 PM
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That is going to depend as much on the lawyers as the engineers. If they have good patent protection then they should be OK, but the fact that Arm Holdings funded them probably means that they are keeping an eye on the technology. I could see them getting bought out if Arm decides to integrate it as core technology.

Did they say if there is a penalty on switching speed or accuracy with this technology? It seems like there would be some kind of price to be paid for the increased power efficiency.

Doug_S
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Re: Ambiq and ARM
Doug_S   9/19/2013 6:24:26 PM
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If they are ahead of the curve, it is exactly the sort of company Apple likes to acquire.  If they go dark at some point in the future, we'll know what happened :)

rick merritt
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Ambiq and ARM
rick merritt   9/19/2013 3:53:56 PM
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Do you think Ambiq can deliver something thats differentated before ARM rolls its own sub-threshold core for IoT?

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