Globalfoundries Tapes Out Industry's First 28nm Chip

Globalfoundries Tapes Out 28nm ARM Cortex A9 Qualification Vehicle

by Anton Shilov
09/02/2010 | 12:01 PM

At the Global Technology Conference, Globalfoundries announced it has taped-out a qualification vehicle based on the ARM Cortex A9 dual processor, an industry first on 28nm high-K metal gate (HKMG) technology. This technology qualification vehicle (TQV) will allow Globalfoundries to optimize its 28nm HKMG process for customer designs based on the next-generation dual-core ARM processor.


“This is a significant milestone on the road to high-volume 28nm manufacturing and technology leadership for next-generation products ranging from smart mobile devices to high-performance wired applications,” said Mojy Chian, senior vice president of design enablement at Globalfoundries.

The jointly developed TQV reached the tape-out stage in August at Globalfoundries Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany and was a part of the strategic collaboration with ARM announced last year. Silicon results are expected back from the fab in late 2010. The TQV design uses a fully optimized ARM Cortex-A9 physical IP suite, including a full range of standard cell libraries, high-speed cache memory macros for L1 and density-optimized memories in other areas. It is designed to emulate a product-like system-on-chip (SoC) in every way, allowing for maximum frequency analysis and short turnaround time between design cycles. A complete range of design for testability (DFT) features enables Silicon-Spice correlation of Cortex-A9 critical paths and bit-mapping of cache memories at gigahertz speed.

The TQV will be based on Globalfoundries 28nm high performance (HP) technology targeted at high-performance wired applications. The collaboration also will include the 28nm high performance plus (HPP) technology for both wired and high-performance mobile applications, and the super low power (SLP) technology for power-sensitive mobile and consumer applications.

“As the industry adopts increasingly advanced process technologies, there is a growing need for close collaboration between design and manufacturing. Our partnership will enable customers to rapidly bring high-performance, low-power ARM technology-based designs to market on 28nm HKMG technology,” said Simon Segars, ARM, executive vice president and general manager of physical IP division at ARM.