GlobalFoundries partners up with ARM

— 9:38 AM on October 6, 2009

AMD and Intel may share dominion over the x86 microprocessor market, but in the mobile and embedded world, ARM rules. That makes GlobalFoundries' new alliance with the British intellectual property firm quite a major event. GlobalFoundries and ARM Holdings say they have signed "a broad agreement on processor implementation and circuit optimization to provide mutual customers with a robust enablement program geared towards next-generation applications." In less corporate terms, GlobalFoundries and ARM plan to collaborate on the manufacturing of system-on-a-chip devices with Cortex A9 processor cores using 28-nm high-k metal gate process technology.

Last we heard, GlobalFoundries intended to start accepting 28-nm HKMG designs in the second half of next year and to begin production at its Dresden facility "shortly thereafter." The two firms claim that process is ideal for "advanced mobile solutions" because it's designed for both high performance and minimal current leakage.

According to the official announcement, though, this partnership is a long-term one "built around a full suite of ARM Physical IP, Fabric IP and Processor IP," so it may span other products or multiple generations of process technology. The deal could benefit both GlobalFoundries, considering the popularity of ARM-based chips, and ARM itself, since GlobalFoundries gives it access to pretty advanced process technologies—including the same ones AMD uses to compete with Intel.

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