ARM, TSMC Partner up to Develop and Bring 7nm Chip to Commercial Market
ARM and TSMC have agreed to join forces to develop 7nm FinFET process technology for future SoCs. While that won’t be the world’s first, since IBM created a 7nm chip in the summer of last year, the pair is hoping to be the first to bring a chip that size to the commercial market.
Both companies have signed a multi-year agreement to develop products based on this 7nm FinFET process, which will expand ARM’s reach “beyond mobile and into next-generation networks and data centers.” In fact, they are aiming at a design solution for future “low-power, high-performance compute system-on-chips.”
“Existing ARM-based platforms have been shown to deliver an increase of up to 10x in compute density for specific data center workloads,” said Pete Hutton, executive vice president and president of product groups, ARM. “Future ARM technology designed specifically for data centers and network infrastructure and optimized for TSMC 7nm FinFET will enable our mutual customers to scale the industry’s lowest-power architecture across all performance points.”
Last year, IBM used extreme ultraviolet lithography – a technology that uses a wavelength of just 13.5nm – to develop the world’s first 7nm chip. The company has however run into difficulties with its 10nm process thanks to EUV lithography which poses a major hurdle for any kind of mass production. TSMC, therefore, appears to be avoiding this capability for developing their model of a 7nm chip.
“Our 7nm technology development progress is on schedule,” a TSMC spokesperson told the INQUIRER in a statement. “TSMC’s 7nm technology development leverages our 10nm development very effectively. At the same time, 7nm offers a substantial density improvement, performance improvement and power reduction from 10nm.”
The joint venture is part of previous collaborations on 16nm and 10nm FinFET between the two organizations.