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TSMC to start testing 7nm mobile processors

TSMC just announced that with the new Synopsys design platform certification, it is now ready to test chipsets built on the 7nm process.

Published onOctober 20, 2016

Processor chip on circuitboard

As you may know, Samsung has recently announced that it has begun mass producing its 10nm chipsets – presumably its home-grown Exynos 8895 as well as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 830 processors. Well, it looks like Samsung isn’t the only one producing advanced, ultra-efficient mobile processors. TSMC just announced that with the new Synopsys certification, it is now ready to test chipsets built on the 7nm process. The new 7nm process should result in even better performance while maintaining energy efficiency, and smaller chipsets mean more room for things like battery.

According to Digitimes, TSMC has certified the complete suite of Synopsys’ tools for the 7nm FinFET technology node. Synopsys’ Galaxy design platform supports important features such as Parametric on Chip Variation combined with Liberty Variation Format and Advanced Waveform Propagation. Simply put, TSMC now has the system that is able to handle the 7nm process, an ultra-low voltage operation:

With multiple designs already under development by early adopters of TSMC’s 7nm technology, the certification enables mutual customers to derive the maximum benefits of the new technology node using IC Compiler II.

Suk Lee, the senior director of design infrastructure marketing division at TSMC, explains that the collaboration between TSMC and Synopsis means that the tools from the Galaxy design platform are now “ready for early engagements at 7nm.” Although the platform is slated to handle the required design rules and technical elements such as metal cut awareness, going from this stage to mass production will undoubtedly take some time.

According to TSMC, the risk production is planned for the second quarter of 2017, meaning actual devices with 7nm chipsets will probably come in 2018 at the earliest, provided that other companies do not beat TSMC to it (which I’m fairly certain that companies like Samsung will also jump into it very soon). The company says that the 7nm process will target mobile products with high-performance computing, and if history is any indication, Apple will probably be its main customer.

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Excited about TSMC’s upcoming mobile chipsets? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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