As part of this new phase of their relationship, Imagination will work closely with TSMC to develop highly optimised reference design flows and silicon implementations using Imagination’s industry-leading PowerVR Series6 GPUs combined with TSMC’s advanced process technologies, including 16-nanometer (nm) FinFET process technology.
Imagination and TSMC R&D teams will also work together to create fully characterised reference system designs, utilizing high bandwidth memory standards and TSMC’s 3D IC technology capability to demonstrate new levels of system performance and capabilities while retaining all the essential characteristics of power, silicon area and small package footprint demanded by high volume mobile SoCs.
As GPUs increasingly dominate the area, power and performance of next generation SoCs and the options available to designers using advanced silicon processes become more complex, design flows and libraries need to be optimally tuned to enable design teams to achieve the best possible performance, power consumption and silicon area in ever more demanding timescales. To address these challenges, Imagination and TSMC are investigating how the characteristics of the latest processes, such as 16FinFET, influence the design of high performance IP-based SoCs.
Says Hossein Yassaie, CEO of Imagination, in the press release: “Many of our licensees rely on TSMC to provide them with leading edge low power, high performance silicon foundry capabilities. Through advanced projects initiated under this partnership, Imagination and TSMC are working together to showcase how SoCs will transform the future of mobile and embedded products. We are delighted to announce our strengthening relationship with TSMC, and look forward to seeing the fruits of these projects benefiting our many mutual customers.”
“Just as memory drove silicon processes in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and CPUs drove processes further in the late ‘90s and ‘00s, high performance mobile GPUs for graphics and compute applications are one of the major drivers for our most advanced process technologies,” says Dr. Cliff Hou, TSMC Vice President, R&D, in the press release. “We’re pleased to be working with Imagination, an established leader in mobile and embedded GPU IP, to understand how best to use PowerVR GPUs to work with us to optimize future generations of our most advanced process technologies, and advanced system design techniques.”
Imagination is a member of TSMC’s Soft-IP Alliance program, through which it has begun to validate all of its major IP core families so that TSMC’s customers can take full advantage of the results of this collaboration. Imagination’s IP portfolio is unrivalled in its breadth, including:
• PowerVR GPU (graphics processor) Series5, 5XT and 6 (‘Rogue’): the most widely shipped for mobile and embedded graphics and GPU Compute
• PowerVR VPU (video processor) Series3 and 4: the industry’s most widely deployed range of multi-standard video decoder and encoder cores for applications from mobile to ultra-HD
• Ensigma RPU (radio processor) Series3 and 4: the multi-standard programmable communications and connectivity technology for TV, radio, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
• MIPS CPU and embedded processors: advanced processor architectures featuring hardware multi-threading that deliver class-leading performance from high end Android-based applications processors down to small yet highly efficient embedded processors
Source: Imagination Technologies
MacDailyNews Take: Things that make you go “hmm.”
In January, DigiTimes reported: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is expected to start making an integrated AP/GPU solution for Apple, using 20nm SoC process technology, according to Digitimes Research analyst Nobunaga Chai. In addition, Chai noted that though TSMC with its 20nm SoC process will most likely secure its first chip orders from Apple, the foundry’s 16nm FinFET process will play a key role in Apple’s “breakthrough” product. TSMC’s 20nm SoC process should be able to enter mass production between fourth-quarter 2013 and first-quarter 2014, followed by a newer 16nm FinFET node in less than one year, Chai said.
TSMC to fabricate Apple’s forthcoming A7 processor, sources say – March 14, 2013
Apple suppliers Hon Hai, TSMC to add 5,000 jobs each – March 11, 2013
TSMC CEO comments signal massive next-gen Apple A-series chip orders – January 19, 2013
Analyst: Apple to use TSMC’s new 16nm FinFET process for ‘breakthrough’ product</a – January 16, 2013
Apple’s 20x faster future iPhone 5, iPad 3 graphics promise – January 12, 2012
Apple nearly triples stake in U.K. chip maker Imagination Technologies – June 26, 2009
Apple takes 3.6% stake in mobile system-on-chip maker Imagination Technologies – December 18, 2008