Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced on Monday that it would team up with ARM Holdings PLC to develop technology beyond the 20-nanometer process.
In a joint statement released on Monday, TSMC said it had signed a multi-year agreement with the UK semiconductor intellectual-property (IP) firm in a bid to enhance development of TSMC’s processor technology and ARM’s IP.
The announcement came after TSMC chairman and chief executive Morris Chang (張忠謀) told an investors’ conference on Thursday last week that the company would start risk production of 16nm system-on-a-chip ICs late next year or early in 2014, using the advanced FinFET process technology.
Risk production involves producing samples prior to beginning mass production. FinFET technology promises impressive speed and power improvements, while the technology is expected to increase energy efficiency.
Cliff Hou (侯永清), a vice president in TSMC’s research and development division, said collaborating with ARM would help optimize the company’s FinFET process with ARM’s 64-bit processors and physical IP.
Simon Segars, an executive vice president and general manager at ARM’s processor and physical IP divisions, said the collaboration would enable the UK firm to leverage TSMC’s manufacturing ability.
“The ongoing deep collaboration with TSMC provides customers earlier access to FinFET technology to bring high-performance, power-efficient products to market,” Segars said.