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ARM and TSMC expect first 10nm tape-outs in late 2015

ARM Holdings and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. on Thursday outlined some details regarding transition of chip production to 10nm FinFET manufacturing technology. The company’s reaffirmed that risk production of chips made using 10nm FF fabrication process will start in late 2015.

The two companies agreed to work together on 10nm FinFET ARM Artisan physical IP of ARMv8-A-based processors. The companies did not reveal which processor cores will be implemented in 10nm FF, but it is logical to expect both current-generation ARM Cortex-A53/A57 as well as next-generation code-named Artemis and Maya cores. Physical implementations of ARMv8-A cores will help chip developers to easily integrate them into their 10nm FF designs.

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ARM and TSMC expect their customers to tape-out (the point at which the artwork for the photomask of a circuit is sent for manufacture) the first 10nm FinFET designs as early as in Q4 2015. The first tape-outs of chips are usually called risk production. Typically mass production using a fabrication process starts a year after risk production.

Based on TSMC’s predictions, its 10nm FinFET will offer over 25 per cent clock-rate improvement over the 16nm FinFET+ at the same power; it is also expected to be 45 per cent more energy efficient and it is predicted to provide 2.2 times higher density over 16nm FinFET+.

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KitGuru Says: Basically speaking, ARM and TSMC agreed to help their clients with transition to 10nm FinFET manufacturing technology as well as re-emphasized TSMC’s commitment to start risk production using the process in late 2015. What will be truly interesting know is when TSMC plans to start mass production of 10nm FF chips as market rumours claim that the company wants to speed up commercial launch of its 10nm FinFET process to become more competitive against rivals.

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