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Globalfoundries and ARM tape out 20nm chip

by on15 December 2011

Demonstrates 2.5GHz ARM part in 28nm

Globalfoundries and ARM proudly announced the tape out of the first 20nm ARM chip yesterday, but perhaps more importantly, they demoed a record breaking 2.5GHz Cortex A9 chip manufactured in 28nm.

The outfits collaborated closely on 20nm development and it is expected the new process will improve performance by about 35 percent and drastically cut power consumption compared to 28nm. However, since we have yet to see any 28nm ARM chips on the market, the introduction of 20nm parts seems a rather long way away.

As for the 28nm part, it was churned out by GloFo’s Dresden fab, using the company’s HKMG high performance platform. Curiously, it seems the performance could even be improved if the design is adapted to the high performance plus (HPP) platform.

It is still unclear whether we are looking at an actual product in development, or merely a technology demonstrator, but in any case the 2.5GHz clock gives us an idea of what to expect from next generation 28nm SoC designs, although clocks in production parts are likely to be somewhat lower.

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