TSMC & ARM Teaming Up to Create 7nm SoC


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Dec 30, 2010
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The next big chipset to hit the mobile market will be anything but "big." In fact, it's going to be ridiculously small. According to the latest press release, TSMC, one of the global industry leaders in chip manufacturing will be teaming up with ARM, one of mobile tech's tech titans of mobile chip design. Their creation will be an even smaller lithography process that will supposedly yield a 7nm System on a Chip (SoC).

To be clear, this tech will not come out very soon. The next chipset lithographic designs to come to market from the joint venture of these two companies will be 10nm chips. Their quest for a 7nm process will likely come in the next cycle of mobile manufacturing, or around Q1 2017. Here's the full press release for more details,

"HSINCHU, Taiwan & CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ARM and TSMC announced a multi-year agreement to collaborate on a 7nm FinFET process technology which includes a design solution for future low-power, high-performance compute SoCs. The new agreement expands the companies’ long-standing partnership and advances leading-edge process technologies beyond mobile and into next-generation networks and data centers. Additionally, the agreement extends previous collaborations on 16nm and 10nm FinFET that have featured ARM® Artisan® foundation Physical IP.

“Existing ARM-based platforms have been shown to deliver an increase of up to 10x in compute density for specific data center workloads,” said Pete Hutton, executive vice president and president of product groups, ARM. “Future ARM technology designed specifically for data centers and network infrastructure and optimized for TSMC 7nm FinFET will enable our mutual customers to scale the industry’s lowest-power architecture across all performance points.”

“TSMC continuously invests in advanced process technology to support our customer’s success,” said Dr. Cliff Hou, vice president, R&D, TSMC. “With our 7nm FinFET, we have expanded our Process and Ecosystem solutions from mobile to high performance compute. Customers designing their next generation high-performance computing SoCs will benefit from TSMC’s industry-leading 7nm FinFET, which will deliver more performance improvement at the same power or lower power at the same performance as compared to our 10nm FinFET process node. Jointly optimized ARM and TSMC solutions will enable our customers to deliver disruptive, first-to-market products.”

This latest agreement builds on ARM and TSMC’s success with previous generations of 16nm FinFET and 10nm FinFET process technology. The joint innovations from previous TSMC and ARM collaborations have enabled customers to accelerate their product development cycles and take advantage of leading-edge processes and IP. Recent benefits include early access to Artisan Physical IP and tape-outs of ARM Cortex®-A72 processor on 16nm FinFET and 10nm FinFET."

It's amazing how tiny they are developing transistors now. When you read about the lithography process of developing these chips with billions of transistors in a tiny space, it almost sounds like magic!
OMG! So for all you people who have no idea just how amazingly tiny this is;

A sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick

A strand of human DNA is 2.5 nanometers in diameter

There are 25,400,000 nanometers in one inch

A human hair is approximately 80,000- 100,000 nanometers wide

A single gold atom is about a third of a nanometer in diameter

On a comparative scale, if the diameter of a marble was one nanometer, then the diameter of the Earth would be about one meter

*** One nanometer is about as long as your fingernail grows in one second ***

A 7 nanometer transistor would be just under 3 times the diameter of a DNA strand. Seriously!

Alright, if that's not amazing enough for you, in a 7 nanometer process, a single transistor would be about 21 gold atoms across. This means we're getting close to where they can't get any smaller unless they begin using subatomic particles processes, or in others words the limit of modern technology for the foreseeable future.

Here's a chart to put this into perspective.

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