Samsung Electronics, the world's largest semiconductor producer, has announced that it is partnering with Arm to bring the company's Cortex-A76 processor to speeds of 3GHz and beyond.
Spun out from microcomputing pioneer Acorn Computers, a move which saw the name flip from Acorn RISC Machines to Advanced RISC Machines before a stock exchange flotation in 1998 created ARM Holdings, the SoftBank-owned company now known as Arm Holdings is best known for producing the intellectual property (IP) powering the overwhelming majority of smartphones, tablets, and embedded devices on the market. While in the company's early days it went toe-to-toe with rivals including Intel's x86 microarchitecture, it has long been largely absent from the desktop market and spent its time building up an unassailable majority share of the low-power market instead.
Today, though, Arm is pushing on the performance front too. Its technology has begun to appear in data centres and supercomputing facilities, after several false starts over the years, and now the company has confirmed a partnership with Samsung to migrate its Cortex-A76 processor IP to the company's 7nm low-power plus (7LPP) and 5nm low-power early (5LPE) process nodes - a move which, the pair claim, will allow for clock speeds in excess of 3GHz.
'Arm and Samsung Foundry have collaborated on a large number of chips using Artisan physical IP on Samsung Foundry process technologies,' explains Kelvin Low, vice president of marketing for the Physical Design Group at Arm. 'Samsung Foundry’s 7LPP and 5LPE nodes are innovative process technologies which will meet our mutual customers’ needs to deliver the next generation of advanced system-on-chips (SoCs) from mobile to hyperscale data centres.'
'Building an extensive and differentiated design ecosystem is a must for our foundry customers,' adds Ryan Sanghyun Lee, vice president of the Foundry Marketing Team at Samsung Electronics. 'Collaboration with Arm in the fields of IP solutions is crucial to increase high-performance computing power and accelerate the growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning capabilities.'
Samsung's 7LPP process will be production-ready by the second half of this year, the company claims, while its 5LPE process relies upon extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology which will not be ready before the first half of 2019. Neither company, however, has offered a suggested time-to-market for products containing the 3GHz-plus Cortex-A76 chips.