ARM chips may not have the same brand-name recognition as Intel, say, but most people rely on them in a whole lot more recent devices than any other processor. That’s why we’re so interested to hear about GlobalFoundries’ plan to make 28nm ARM Cortex A9 chips; the AMD spin-off is promising that the new silicon will be significantly faster than other Cortex A9 processors, together with offering double-digit efficiency improvements.
It should also make for faster SoC design, good news if you’re Microsoft, Qualcomm, TI, Nintendo or one of GlobalFoundries other existing clients. They’ll be able to licence the company’s Cortex A9 MPCore design and buy their wafers, then build a SoC around it from standard components from other companies. What normally would take years to design and produce could be done in just a few quarters, headed into games consoles, smartphones, netbooks, PMPs, tablets and other devices. The GlobalFoundries design is expected to be finalised in June or July, with mass production kicking off in the second half of this year.