ARM and TSMC join forces to compete with Intel

/ 4 years ago

ARM has moved a step closer to increasing competition with Intel after signing a deal with TSMC to produce low power mobile and server processors. Currently the Cambridge based semi-conductor firm ARM dominates the smartphone and tablet markets – around 90% of all devices sold feature an ARM processor inside.

The new deal with TSMC involves collaboration over “technical details” which should produce higher and better yields for both. They should also be able to collaborate to produce designs more suitable for their own fabrication processes.

“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.”

The mentioned FinFET process is a dual gate transistor equivalent to Intel’s Tri Gate transistor architecture except for x64 processors not x86. TSMC have over a decade of research into 3D Transistor designs, comparable to that of Intel. Once ARM are able to integrate this FinFET process into their v8 64 bit chip they should be able to provide low power server and mobile processors that can rival Intel in the server market.

Given ARM’s inherent cost advantage over Intel, this could hopefully help force some Intel prices down too – something we otherwise probably wouldn’t have seen due to the lack of fighting spirit from AMD who seem to be retreating on all fronts except graphics and APUs.