TSMC ARM Cortex-A9 chip hits 3.1GHz high

TSMC ARM Cortex-A9 chip hits 3.1GHz high

TSMC's latest 28nm ARM Cortex-A9 test chip has hit speeds of 3.1GHz under standard operating conditions, making it the fastest ARM chip around.

Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) may be having a few problems with its 28nm process, but that hasn't stopped the company announcing the release of the first 3.1GHz ARM-based processor.

Built on the company's 28nm process - despite admitted capacity problems at the node, which has led to customer Qualcomm looking elsewhere for spare capacity - the test chip is based on ARM's Cortex-A9 dual-core IP, but running at a speed hitherto unheard-of for the design.

Typical Cortex-A9 dual-core processors run at between 1GHz and 2GHz, making TSMC's latest creation the fastest ARM processor on the planet.

'At 3.1GHz this 28HPM dual-core processor implementation is twice as fast as its counterpart at TSMC 40nm under the same operating conditions,' claimed Cliff Hou, vice president of research and development at the foundry giant. 'This work demonstrates how ARM and TSMC can satisfy high performance market demands. With other implementation options, 28HPM is also highly suited for a wide range of markets that prize performance and power efficiency.'

Sadly, as Hou's comments suggest, TMSC won't be releasing the 3.1GHz part into the market any time soon. Rather, it's using the test chip platform as a demonstration of its capabilities in the hopes that ARM's multitudinous licensees will beat a path to its door, eager to get their hands on the company's secret-source for their own chip designs.

'TSMC's high performance 28HPM process is suitable for a wide range of advanced ARM-processor based applications, extending from high-frequency, performance-orientated computing devices to power sensitive applications,' boasted Jim Nicholas, vice president of ARM's processor marketing department, of TSMC's achievement. 'The collaboration between ARM, TSMC and our ecosystem partners has delivered an extensible implementation platform that enables flexibility in performance and power management trade-offs for next generation products.'


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schmidtbag 4th May 2012, 15:42 Quote
i'd like to know how much more power consuming this is, and am interested in seeing benchmarks with a lot of performance-per-watt comparisons.
greypilgers 4th May 2012, 22:01 Quote
^ +1
Especially since performance per watt is what this kind of chip is sold on.
SpAceman 4th May 2012, 23:48 Quote
But can it run Crysis?

Needs to be in a phone. As soon as humanly possible.
ssj12 5th May 2012, 02:16 Quote
Cortex-A15 at 28nm then would be amazing based off this information.
Woollster00 5th May 2012, 17:52 Quote
Originally Posted by SpAceman
But can it run Crysis?

Needs to be in a phone. As soon as humanly possible.

Phones probably will be capable of running crisis before the end of this decade the way technology is advancing
mclean007 7th May 2012, 11:52 Quote
Originally Posted by Woollster00
Phones probably will be capable of running crisis before the end of this decade the way technology is advancing
End of the decade?! Assuming what you mean is having the processing and graphical power equivalent to the minimum specs of a PC needed to play the original Crysis at an acceptable frame rate, rather than actually being able to run the x86 code, which is unlikely, or the power to run some cut down version of the engine and look good, which I bet some of today's highest end smart phones and tablets could easily do, looking at the calibre of games such as Infinity Blade on iOS), I'd say we're talking more like 2-3 years from now rather than 7.
[PUNK] crompers 7th May 2012, 12:27 Quote
Until smart phones have batteries that actually let you play games without ending up with no battery on my phone (usually stranded somewhere) I'm not interested to be honest. Processing power is nice but pointless if you have to be plugged into the wall to use it
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