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ARM & TSMC Release 20nm Cortex-A15 Multicore Processor

ARM has teamed up with Taiwanese foundry TSMC for the tape out of the first 20nm Cortex-A15 MPCore processor, only six months after the RTL stage was reached.

The implementation appeared to have been sped up using TSMC's own Open Innovation Platform 20nm design ecosystem. The first designs on the Cortex A15 are expected to hit the market in the second half of 2012 with 20nm and 28nm manufacturing processes being the likely choices.

ARM will optimise its physical IP technology to fit TSMC's 20nm process, which ARM reckons will help the Cortex-A15 processor provide more than a 100 per cent performance increase over past models.

Last week, ARM announced that it had extended its long-term IP partnership with another foundry UMC on 28nm, which will be the next logical step for Cortex A9-based SoCs at the beginning of 2012.

At the beginning of the year, ARM announced a similar partnership with IBM to produce a comprehensive design platform that scales down to 14nm.

Rival Intel has already taped out its first 22nm microprocessor, codenamed Ivy Bridge, one that uses a 3D-like technology called 3D-Trigate. Ivy Bridge is expected to be released in the first half of 2012.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.