ARM has tied-up with AMD spin-off Globalfoundries to unveil a new series of SoC chips that are based on the latter’s ground-breaking 28nm HKMG process. The new architecture should really boost the demand for ARM chips, which already rule the mobile chipset market with their energy efficiency.
Based on the ARM Cortex A9 processor, the new system-on-chip devices will be manufactured using Globalfoundries’ 28nm gate-first high-k metal gate manufacturing process. This should allow the chips to carry twice the gate density in comparison to chips manufactured using a 40nm process.
The shrinking of the process will also bring a host of impressive boosts for ARM chips including a 40 percent hike in performance and a 30 percent reduction in power usage. But the best improvement is in the battery life – a whopping 100 percent while on standby. The most surprising part is that these improvements will not increase the chip’s heat output.
This should make life easier for manufacturers of existing ARM chip-based products; they will not have to completely redesign their products to upgrade them to the new 28nm chips. ARM and Globalfoundries reportedly have plans of two different versions of these new chips – a super low power version geared towards mobile devices and a high performance version for embedded devices.
When mass production starts in the second half of 2010, these chips will be the first ones to roll out of Globalfoundries’ new 28nm production line in Germany. As the chips gain in popularity and with rumours of even Microsoft considering switching over to ARM technologies, the new ultra-efficient chips should definitely be a cause of worry for both Intel and AMD.
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