GlobalFoundries optimizes 28nm HKMG process for ARM's new dual-core Cortex A9 chip

By Abhinav Lal | Updated 6 Sept 2010
GlobalFoundries optimizes 28nm HKMG process for ARM's new dual-core Cortex A9 chip

With a Technology Qualification Vehile (TQV) in place, GlobalFoundries is currently optimizing its 28nm HKMG (high-K metal gate) process, and is ready to start producing processors based on the ARM Cortex A9 design for customers


The TQV was jointly developed by ARM and GlobalFoundries, and is apparently designed to allow for maximum frequency analysis and small turnaround time, by emulating its product - a system-on-chip - in every way. It will contain identical cell libraries and cache design as the A9 chip, in fact, its entire physical IP suite. The TQV will also provide a range of Design for Testability features that will enable better bit-mapping and path-correlation while testing at gigahertz speeds.

Compared to its 40nm predecessor, the new ARM Cortex A9 SoC based on the 28nm process is expected to be much faster and more energy efficient, projected to deliver a 40% increase in computing performance, 30% decrease in power consumption, and 2 times the standby battery life.

ARM and GlobalFoundries’ 28nm collaboration will apparently extend to high performance and super low power chips as well, covering a wide range of applications.


A spokesperson from ARM summed up the future partnership between the chip design and fabrication houses: “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.”

Abhinav Lal

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