ARM and TSMC have jointly announced
that they have collaborated on the first tape out of ARM's Cortex-A57 CPU
based on its next-generation 64-bit ARMv8 mobile architecture. The new chip design will be ARM's highest performing chip to date and is targeted for use in tablets, high-end computers and servers. The Cortex-A57 was fabricated on TSMC's FinFET 16nm process, which gets its name from the tiny fish fin shape of its transistors.
The new Cortex-A57 design can be implemented individually or paired with ARM's Cortex-A53 processors into a big.LITTLE configuration as employed by Samsung with its current generation Cortex-A15-based Exynos 5 Octa
shipping in the Galaxy S 4 global version. The design allows for the pairing of high-performance cores with power saving cores for an optimal combination of power and battery conservation.
ARM claims that a Cortex-A57 equipped smartphone "wirelessly connected to a screen, keyboard and mouse, delivers a full laptop experience that consumers receive from their typical laptop today." According to ARM, the Cortex-A57 delivers close to twice the browser performance of the Cortex-A15 at a higher level of power efficiency thanks to its combination of a 'deeply out of order pipeline' and a range of power-saving features including 'cache-lookup suppression'.
ARM has not announced when the devices running the new processors will arrive, however, news of the tape out suggests that it could start arriving in devices late this year or in the first half of 2014.