ARM announced the development of two Cortex-A9 MPCore hard macro implementations for
the TSMC 40nm-G process, enabling silicon manufacturers to have a rapid
and low-risk route to silicon for high-performance, low-power Cortex-A9 processor-based
devices. The speed-optimized hard macro implementation will enable
devices to operate at frequencies greater than 2GHz.
core hard macro implementations are the result of ARM’s significant
investment in advanced physical IP development in unison with processor
and fabric IP technology, and leading-edge implementation flows from
the EDA industry. Advanced physical IP techniques
have enabled critical circuits within the design to be replaced with
highly tuned logic cells and memories, increasing performance while
lowering overall power consumption.
Cortex-A9 speed-optimized hard macro implementation will provide system
designers with an industry standard ARM processor incorporating
aggressive low-power techniques to further extend ARM’s performance
leadership into high-margin consumer and enterprise devices within the
power envelope necessary for compact, high-density and thermally
constrained environments. This hard macro implementation operates in
excess of 2GHz when selected from typical silicon and represents an
ideal solution for high-margin performance-oriented applications.
many thermally constrained applications such as set-top boxes, DTVs,
printers and other feature-rich consumer and high-density enterprise
applications, energy efficiency is of paramount importance. The
Cortex-A9 power-optimized hard macro implementation delivers its peak
performance of 4000 DMIPS while consuming less than 250mW per CPU when
selected from typical silicon.
The hard macro implementations
include ARM AMBA-compliant high performance system components to
maximize data traffic speed and minimize power consumption and silicon
area. Each Cortex-A9 hard macro implementation also includes the
CoreSight™ Program Trace Macrocell (PTM) which provides full visibility
into the processor’s instruction flow, enabling the software community
to develop code for optimal performance.
“The Cortex-A9 MPCore
processor has already been widely accepted as the processor of choice
for high-performance embedded applications across a broad spectrum of
demanding consumer and enterprise devices,” said Eric Schorn, VP
marketing, Processor Division, ARM. “ARM’s parallel development of
advanced, optimized physical IP components demonstrates a new level of
collaborative differentiation while enabling our Partners to expand
their penetration into high margin domains traditionally occupied by
“ARM’s long-standing investment in
low-power leadership and ability to develop such high-performance
devices enables licensees to lower the cost and risk of entering the
high-margin markets currently addressed with competing proprietary
solutions,” said Will Strauss, principal analyst at Forward Concepts.
“With single-thread performance capable of supporting very intensive
workloads, the unprecedented level of power efficiency will enable
licensees to introduce compelling new products.”
“ARM and TSMC
have enjoyed a long standing relationship of collaboration to ensure
the development and delivery of best-in-class products optimized for
our manufacturing process,” said ST Juang, Sr. Director, Design
Infrastructure Marketing Division, TSMC. “This provides OEMs developing
feature-rich consumer and enterprise devices access to TSMC’s
manufacturing excellence and the power of ARM processor IP”
ARM dual core Cortex-A9 hard macros will share a common seven-power
domain, dual-NEON™ technology configuration supporting SMP (symmetrical
multiprocessing) operating systems with up to 8MB of Level2 cache
memory and will be delivered with all scripts, vectors and libraries
required to integrate the macro directly within any SoC device.
enable the development of high-efficiency, low risk SoCs using other
Cortex-A9 processor configurations, ARM also provides the
silicon-proven SoC-level ARM Physical IP platform used to build these
hard macros, and a range of AMBA-compliant system development
components and tools.
In addition, the ARM Active Assist
consulting service, developed in conjunction with the hard macros,
enables ARM Partners to efficiently integrate the hardened macro into
their SoC design to realize maximum system performance with lowest risk
and fastest time-to-market.