Published in PC Hardware

First TSMC 16nm FinFET product announced

by on26 September 2014

ARMv8 networking processor from HiSilicon

TSMC and HiSilicon have announced the successful manufacture of the first fully functional 16nm FinFET chip.

It is an ARM-based networking processor, which means it is substantially smaller than SoC or a GPU, but it is by no means a small and simple chip to produce.

Twice the gate density, half the power

TSMC said the new process has twice the gate density of the company’s old 28nm HPM process. It operates about 40 percent faster in the same power envelope and reduces total power consumption by 60 percent.

"Our FinFET R&D goes back over a decade and we are pleased to see the tremendous efforts resulted in this achievement," said TSMC President and Co-CEO, Dr. Mark Liu. "We are confident in our abilities to maximize the technology's capabilities and bring results that match our long track record of foundry leadership in advanced technology nodes."

HiSilicon president Teresa He described the chip as the “industry's first 32-core ARM Cortex-A57 processor” developed for next-generation wireless communications and routers. The chip can hit 2.6GHz.

“Such a highly competitive product can support virtualization, SDN and NFV applications for next-generation base stations, routers and other networking equipment, and meet our time-to-market goals," He said.

TSMC 16nm FinFET enters risk production

TSMC confirmed that its ‘16FinFET’ node has entered risk production with “excellent yields.” Reliability qualifications were completed in November 2013.

The company says the new node paves the way for future tape-outs, pilot activities and early sampling. TSMC pulled in its 16nm FinFET process by roughly a quarter and now it expects to start volume production in the first quarter of 2015. The company was originally eyeing Q2 2015

TSMC will not be alone. Samsung and Globalfoundries have teamed up to deliver their first 14nm FinFET products in the first half of 2015. 

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