TSMC Created First Fully Functional 16FinFET Networking Processor

September 26, 2014 - Written By Kristijan Lucic

Processor technology is advancing at an amazing pace. Qualcomm, Samsung and MediaTek can be considered current industry leader when it comes to smartphone and tablet SoC’s, while Huawei, Intel and Nvidia are trying to find a way in and steal a bigger chunk of the market than they own right now. That being said, TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) has announced that the company’s collaboration with HiSilicon Technologies has successfully produced the first fully functional ARM-based networking processor using FinFET technology. This networking processor integrates 32 ARM Cortex-A57 cores (ARMv8, 64-bit) which operate at up to 2.6GHz frequency. This processor combines 16nm chips with 28nm I/O chip using heterogeneous CoWoS (Chip-on-Wafer-on-Substrate) 3D IC packaging process. In plain words, this should provide extremely high performance while consuming extremely low amounts of power.

“We are delighted to see TSMC’s FinFET technology and CoWoS solution successfully bringing our innovative designs to working silicon. This networking processor’s performance increases by three fold compared with its previous generation. Such a highly competitive product can support virtualization, SDN and NFV applications for next-generation base stations, routers and other networking equipment, and meet our time-to-market goals.” said Teresa He, the president of HiSilicon. On the other hand TSMC President and co-CEO, Dr. Mark Liu, said the following: “Our FinFET R&D goes back over a decade and we are pleased to see the tremendous efforts resulted in this achievement. We are confident in our abilities to maximize the technology’s capabilities and bring results that match our long track record of foundry leadership in advanced technology nodes.”

TSMC could start mass production of these chips soon considering things are to go, or at least it seems like it. TSMC’s 16nm FinFET technology offers higher gate density compared to company’s 28HPM process which they used thus far. It operates more than 40% faster according to the company and reduces total power consumption over 60%. This technology could be the next big thing when ti comes to mobile processors. It will be interesting to see how will it perform once TSMC starts mass production and manufacturers get their hands on it.