ARM and TSMC validate a 10-nm FinFET test chip

ARM Holdings' first ARM v8 test chip based on TSMC's 10FinFET process technology has passed validation. For the SoC arena, this is exciting news as the validation news also brings with it the IP building blocks, EDA (CAD) tools, design flow and methodology needed for customers to harness TSMC's next-generation process tech.

ARM provided some members of the press with details of the "Artemis" test chip. The slides depict a simplified SoC comprising an "Artemis" quad-core CPU and a Mali GPU. The Artemis CPU uses an as-yet-unnanounced architecture, while the Mali GPU only has a single shader. The simplified SoC features balance chip complexity with the ability to validate the new TSMC 10FinFET process. Essentially, ARM packed in all of the advanced CPU and GPU features necessary for validating power utilization and scalability on TSMC's 10FinFET process while minimizing the chance of architecture defects that might cause validation issues.

TSMC and ARM claim the simulation benchmarks for the 10-nm test chip have already shown "impressive power and efficiency gains" over silicon produced on TSMC's 16-nm FinFET+ process. The companies didn't offer any guidance as to when we might see actual customer products built with these new technologies, though.

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