Samsung has taped-out a 20nm ARM test chip using High-k Metal Gate (HKMG) technology.
According to Samsung exec Dr. Kyu-Myung Choi, an entirely new approach was required to address various "impediments" associated with the development and manufacture of next-gen SoCs at the 20nm level.
"Many new 20nm design kits, router and other design enablement features were used in this first test chip to support novel process innovations such as new device structures, local interconnects, and advanced routing rules," explained Choi.
"[We were] able to use ARM physical and processor IP to validate the design readiness of their most advanced node. ARM provided a full implementation of the test chip, which contained an ARM Cortex-M0 processor, ARM Artisan prototype libraries (both 12-track high performance and 9-track high density versions), custom memories, GPIO, and test structures."
Samsung Foundry's 20nm early access process design kit (PDK) is currently available for customers in the initial stages of designing next-gen tablets and smartphones - which are expected to offer longer battery life and greater processing power.