ARM Holdings moved a step closer towards increasing competition with leading chipmaker, Intel, after announcing a multi-year agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) to produce low-power chips for mobile devices and servers.
The Cambridge-based firm’s chip designs dominate the smartphone and tablet markets, powering around 90% of devices currently sold. The agreement with TSMC will include the collaboration of technical details between both parties in order to produce higher yields, and designs more suited to the fabricators' manufacturing setups.
“This collaboration brings two industry leaders together earlier than ever before to optimize our FinFET process with ARM’s 64-bit processors and physical IP,” Cliff Hou, vice president of research and development for TSMC, said in the statement. “We can successfully achieve targets for high speed, low voltage and low leakage.”
TSMC’s FinFET technology is similar to Intel’s Tri-Gate transistor architecture as used in the 22nm Ivy Bridge line of processors, although the design differs by utilizing a Dual-Gate arrangement. Both are the result of over a decade of research into 3D transistor designs by both firms, although Intel was first to commercialize its version.
Once TSMC’s FinFET has been combined with ARM’s upcoming v8 64-bit chip design, it will provide ARM with the products to compete more directly against Intel in the server market, offering consumers highly efficient and low-power chips ideal for server deployment.