Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday unveiled its first tape-out of ARM Holding Ltd’s Cortex-A57 processor using TSMC’s 16-nanometer FinFET process technology.
The completion of the final phase of the design process paves the way for TSMC to start mass producing the processors next year, as per the technology roadmap that the company unveiled in October last year.
ARM-based processors are used in numerous mobile devices such as Apple Inc’s iPhones and iPads.
TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, said the move marks an important milestone in the company’s collaboration with the British chip designer to optimize the 64-bit ARMv8 processor series using 16-nanometer FinFET process technology.
“This achievement shows that the next-generation ARMv8 processor is FinFET-ready for TSMC’s advanced technologies,” Cliff Hou (侯永清), vice president of TSMC’s research and development division, said in a statement.
TSMC chairman and chief executive Morris Chang (張忠謀) told investors in October last year that the company would start accepting test chips in the first quarter of this year, begin risk production of the chips in November this year and planned to ramp up production by the end of next year.
TSMC’s announcement came after South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co unveiled its first 14-nanometer FinFET test chip in December last year, saying at the time that it expected to being mass production the next year.
In February, the US-based GlobalFoundires Inc said it planned to start production of 14-nanometer FinFET tast chips next year.