Optimizing Physical IP For Applications And Processors

Power management may get even more painful without new innovations at 28nm.

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What will the next challenges be for chip designers as the industry moves toward 28nm high-k metal gate manufacturing technology?

One thing is for sure, power management may get even more painful without new innovations to handle the characteristics of 28nm. Optimization is definitely the approach that keeps creeping up as I talk with folks in the industry with ARM specifically mentioning application- and processor-optimized physical IP. What this entails the company is not ready to completely disclose, but it has already engaged with Global Foundries on exactly the issue I mentioned above.

Last October the companies said they would work together on a long-term basis on an “SoC enablement program,” for mutual customers and then in February announced an SoC platform technology for next-gen wireless products and applications.

I suspect that in order to completely optimize its physical IP, a close foundry relationship is essential for ARM, therefore, the pieces of the puzzle seem to be falling into place in regard to its application- and processor-optimized physical IP strategy. The company told me recently they would disclose more on this throughout the year.

On a separate note, following up on my first post, it turns out that the ‘silicon innovation’ referred to by IBM is the company’s the latest X Architecture chipset, which is the primary enabler of the expandable memory — along with a ton of firmware. In essence, nothing new here.

–Ann Steffora Mutschler