updated 11:00 am EDT, Wed July 21, 2010
TSMC to optimize ARM chips as small as 20nm
ARM and TSMC today detailed an agreement that should significantly optimize ARM chips. The deal will see TSMC improve the performance, speed and size of ARM processors made at its factories down to processes as dense as 20 nanometers. TSMC in turn gets access to ARM processor designs up to and including the Cortex architecture found in chips from Apple, Samsung and others.
The teamwork should lead to better ARM processors for companies who make their chips at TSMC, such as those making smartphones and tablets.
ARM didn't provide a complete picture of who would benefit, but NVIDIA is one of the most prominent customers as it regularly uses TSMC for its Tegra processors. Apple normally relies on Samsung to make its ARM processors and may not have need of the TSMC deal, but the planned improvements would let it and others jump to TSMC if it has an edge over Samsung or if Samsung can't handle as much production.