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TSMC builds world’s first 32-core networking chip using 16nm FinFET process technology

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. on Thursday said that it has built the world’s first many-core networking processor for next-generation wireless communications and routers using 16nm FinFET fabrication technology. The ultra-thin manufacturing process will allow the many-core chip to deliver high performance and rich feature-set while consuming low amounts of power.

HiSilicon’s new networking processor solution integrates 32 ARM Cortex-A57 cores (ARMv8, 64-bit) that operate at up to 2.60GHz frequency. The solution combines 16nm logic chips with 28nm I/O chip using heterogeneous CoWoS (Chip-on-Wafer-on-Substrate) 3D IC packaging process.

“We are delighted to see TSMC’s FinFET technology and CoWoS solution successfully bringing our innovative designs to working silicon,” said Teresa He, the president of HiSilicon. “This networking processor’s performance increases by three fold compared with its previous generation. 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.”

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As reported, TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process technology offers considerably higher gate density of compared to TSMC’s 28HPM process, and operates more than 40% faster at the same total power, or reduces total power over 60% at the same clock-rate.

“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.”

TSMC has been risk-producing chips using 16nm FinFET technology for a little less than a year now. It looks like now TSMC is ready to start mass production of chips using this process technology.

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KitGuru Says: It is noteworthy that HiSilicon, a subsidiary of Huawei, is the first company to adopt 16nm FinFET process technology. Back in the days developers of graphics processing units, such as AMD/ATI and Nvidia, were the first to use leading-edge process technologies. For some reason, none of the two want to leap ahead with TSMC’s 16nm.

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