ARM and TSMC have inked a deal for the next-generation of 64-bit processors, paving the way for phones, tablets, notebooks and even servers which outclass x86 chips on performance and efficiency. The deal, which builds on an existing multi-year agreement between ARM and TSMC on 20nm production, will see ARM optimize its ARMv8 architecture and Artisan IP with TSMC's FinFET process technology, slashing the time it takes to bring new, advanced chips to market.
64-bit is the next step in ARM's continued encroachment into markets that would traditionally have looked to Intel and AMD x86 processors. Although ARM-based chipsets are currently dominant in phones and tablets, where their power frugality makes them ideal to balance limited battery life with the expectations of all-day runtime from users, 64-bit readiness will enable the company to broach the enterprise and server segments.
"The 64-bit architecture has been designed specifically to enable energy-efficient implementations" ARM said in a statement on the deal. "Similarly, the 64-bit memory addressing and high-end performance are necessary to enable enterprise computing and network infrastructure that are fundamental for the mobile and cloud-computing markets."
Meanwhile, TSMC's "ability to quickly ramp volume production of highly integrated SoCs in advanced silicon process technology" and FinFET process will mean chips on sale sooner and that use less power.
Dell and HP have both revealed plans for ARM-based servers, and the chipsets will get an extra boost when Windows RT - previously known as Windows-on-ARM - arrives in October. Samsung and others are expected to release Windows RT tablets using ARM-based processors, while one of Microsoft's own Surface tablets will run on ARM technology.