ARM Expands Processor Optimization Pack Solutions for TSMC 40nm and 28nm Process Variants

April 16, 2012

ARM Artisan Physical IP Delivers Optimized Performance and Energy-Efficiency for ARM® Cortex™-A5, Cortex -A7, Cortex-A9 and Cortex-A15 cores

Cambridge, UK – 16th April 2012 – ARM today announced the availability of a significantly expanded lineup of ARM® Processor Optimization Pack™ (POP) solutions for TSMC 40nm and 28nm process technologies targeting a range of ARM Cortex™ processors. At least nine new POP configurations targeting Cortex-A5, Cortex-A7, Cortex-A9 and Cortex-A15 processor cores will be released. An essential element of ARM’s comprehensive implementation strategy, POPs enable ARM partners to quickly close timing of single-, dual- and quad-core implementations across a broad envelope of power, performance and area optimization points. This solution reduces risk and improves time-to-market in the development of Cortex processor-based Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) with partners achieving competitive results in as little as six weeks.  

At the leading-edge 28nm HPM (high performance for mobile) and 28nm HP (high performance) process variants, ARM is launching new POPs for the Cortex-A9 core as well as the first POPs for ARM’s newest Cortex-A7 and Cortex-A15 processors. Since the Cortex-A7 and Cortex-A15 cores are used in tandem as ARM’s big.LITTLE™ energy-efficient processing solution, the addition of POPs for both cores assures a complete solution for big.LITTLE implementations. ARM’s lead licensee for the Cortex-A15 POP for TSMC 28nm HPM is progressing toward the tape out of its first chip in the coming months. 

At TSMC 40nm LP (low power), ARM’s existing POP offering for the Cortex-A5 and Cortex-A9 processors is being augmented with the new Cortex-A7 POP. In addition, working in concert with TSMC, ARM will offer new POP variants supporting the latest high-speed options for TSMC 40nm LP, so those process options can take full advantage of the POP implementation benefits. ARM’s POPs for TSMC 40nm LP for Cortex-A5 (1.0 GHz) and Cortex-A9 (1.4 GHz) are shipping in production chips by ARM partners in such applications as smart-TV, set-top box, mobile computing and smart phones. 

ARM has been working closely with TSMC on advanced technologies and has a proven and rich roadmap of optimized ARM core solutions targeting TSMC process technologies from 40nm through 28nm,” said Cliff Hou, vice president, Research & Development, TSMC.  “The resulting Processor Optimization Pack helps accelerate ARM based SoC designs.” 

A Processor Optimization Pack solution is composed of three elements necessary to achieve an optimized ARM core implementation. First, it contains ARM Artisan® Physical IP logic libraries and memory instances that are specifically tuned for a given ARM core and process technology.

This Physical IP is developed through a tightly coupled collaboration with ARM processor engineers in an iterative process to identify the optimal results. Second, it includes a comprehensive benchmarking report to document the exact conditions and results ARM achieved for the core implementation. Finally, it includes a POP Implementation Guide that details the methodology used to achieve the result, to enable the end customer to achieve the same implementation quickly and at low risk. 

“A single POP product can be applied to energy-efficient mobile, networking or even enterprise applications, providing a wide range of flexibility for ARM SoC partners to optimize performance and energy-efficiency while reducing risk in their designs,” said Simon Segars, executive vice president and general manager, Processor and Physical IP Division, ARM.  “Only ARM can offer a complete roadmap of Processor Optimization Pack implementation solutions so deeply integrated and tightly aligned with ARM processor development activities now and into the future.”

 The summary below describes the existing and newly announced POP products for TSMC processes. ARM also incorporates the POP optimizations in hard macros of Cortex cores.

POP availability by process technology


TSMC 40 LP high speed options




ARM Cortex™-A5 Existing










Cortex-A9 Existing


Cortex-A9 Existing


Cortex-A9 New





Cortex-A15 Upcoming

About ARM
ARM designs the technology that is at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM’s comprehensive product offering includes 32-bit RISC microprocessors, graphics processors, video engines, enabling software, cell libraries, embedded memories, high-speed connectivity products, peripherals and development tools. Combined with comprehensive design services, training, support and maintenance, and the company’s broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies.

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Customer Endorsements


“Our customers have increasingly asked us to provide full-service ARM-based SoC development solutions and ARM-based derivative solutions. Since announcing our expanded relationship with ARM and the creation of our ARM Center of Excellence (CoE), Open-Silicon has added ARM-based software development kits and FPGA prototyping to our existing full ARM SoC system design services,” said Naveed Sherwani, President and CEO, Open-Silicon. “We've also selected ARM POP for power and performance optimization, as an extension to our CoreMAX™ and PowerMAX™ technologies for processor optimization, to enable building the best possible custom ARM solutions.”


“Panasonic licensed the ARM Processor Optimization Pack (POP) to achieve up to 1.4GHz performance for our ARM Cortex-A9 based SoC,” said Masaitsu Nakajima, General Manager of  Processor Core Technology at Panasonic. “ARM EDA tool support and production-ready physical IP helped accelerate our time-to-market.”


“The tablet market is growing rapidly, and putting greater demands on semiconductor companies to deliver cost-effective solutions that can sustain an ever-increasing level of graphics, video and gaming performance, while still being energy-efficient,” saidFeng Chen, Chief Marketing Officer, Rockchip. “The partnership enables us to use proven mobile Internet technologies from ARM and provide a high-performance, low-cost and easy-to-design platform. This turnkey solution is ideal for customers to quickly adopt for their Android-based tablet devices. The combination of the ARM Cortex-A9 processor and the POP has enabled the highest performance with the lowest power in the fastest time possible. Rockchip has been able to deliver a highly efficient processor implementation on a 40nm LP process.”


"To achieve our aggressive 1GHz target with the fastest time to market, we chose ARM’s Artisan Cortex-A5 POP and are more than satisfied with the results.” said Dr. Leo Li, president and CEO, Spreadtrum. “ARM’s multi channel standard cells and high density memory compilers delivered lower power, with an area saving, over the competing IP solutions.”


“VeriSilicon, a long time ARM partner in design service, completed a comprehensive license agreement that includes Cortex processor family, POP and other ARM IP last year,” commented Dr. Wayne Dai, President and CEO, VeriSilicon.   “Our customers of advanced manufacturing processes like 40nm and 28nm desire to work closely with VeriSilicon to balance the power-performance-area of the processor implementation for specific applications.  Our SoC platforms and world-class design capability allow us to unleash the performance potential and energy efficiency of ARM processors and provide differentiated custom silicon solutions for a range of consumer markets.”

About Arm

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