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TSMC clocks Cortex-A9 test chip at 3.1GHz

TSMC says a 28nm test chip based on the ARM Cortex-A9 dual core processor has run at 3.1GHz under what it calls 'typical conditions'. Manufactured on TSMC's HPM – high performance for mobile applications – process, the chip can be clocked between 1.5GHz and 2GHz for mobile applications and at up to 3.1GHz for high performance use.

"At 3.1GHz, this implementation is twice as fast as its counterpart at TSMC 40nm under the same operating conditions," said Cliff Hou, TSMC's vp of Research & Development. "With other implementation options, 28HPM is also suited for a range of markets that prize performance and power efficiency."
The ARM Cortex-A9 silicon implementation and validation is part of TSMC's ongoing technology benchmarking efforts.
Recently, there has been much discussion about TSMC's ability to supply customer requirements from its 28nm fabs, with one customer – nVidia – pointing to yield issues, and another – Qualcomm – saying it has started to look for capacity at other foundries.
"We had some difficulties with 28nm,TSMC chairman Morris Chang admitted recently, "but those difficulties had to do with not having enough capacity, not yields."

Graham Pitcher

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