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TSMC and ARM Collaboration Achieves Significant Power Reduction On 65nm Low-Power Test Chip


Power-management techniques provide proven path to power savings

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. AND CAMBRIDGE, UK – July 18, 2006 – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSE: 2330, NYSE: TSM) and ARM [(LSE: ARM); (Nasdaq: ARMHY)], today announced that a design collaboration between TSMC and ARM on a 65-nanometer (nm) low-power test chip resulted in dramatic reductions in both dynamic and leakage power. The two companies cited innovative low-power design techniques, which were key to successful results.

The year-long collaboration resulted in a 65nm test chip based on the ARM926EJ-S ™ processor demonstrating advanced power management technologies. By applying dynamic voltage and frequency scaling techniques, the test chip provides the ability to operate at the lowest possible power level for each mode of operation. In this case, the ARM® test chip achieved a dynamic power reduction of over 50 percent. Significantly, even on this TSMC 65LP low leakage process, advanced power-gating technology further reduced standby leakage by a factor of 8 times.

“Power efficiency is the most important challenge facing the semiconductor industry as mobile devices exploit advanced processes to deliver greater functionality and performance" said David Flynn, ARM Fellow. “ARM and TSMC are partnering on 65nm and 45nm technology development, and this project demonstrates the significant leakage and dynamic power reductions that we can achieve through close technical collaboration and implementation of fully functional silicon.”

“One of TSMC’s key differentiators is our insistence on proving our services and those of our partners in silicon, before bringing them to the design community,” said Ed Wan, senior director of Design Services Product Marketing, TSMC. “Our collaboration with ARM demonstrates beyond doubt that advanced process technologies, combined with innovative design techniques, and process-targeted libraries, can achieve distinct and significant power savings, which is absolutely vital to companies on the technological leading edge.”

The test chip incorporates low- power memory macros, level shifters, retention flip-flops, and isolation cells in the library, which is characterized for multiple voltages.

Power Management Strategy
TSMC’s power management collaboration with ARM is one component of a wide-ranging strategy to provide robust low-power capabilities. New power management features developed through this test chip program include:

* Multi-corner timing closure capability, which anticipates the timing impact of voltage scaling on the timing of library cells that offer different threshold voltages. This technique recognizes shifts in the critical path and earmarks them for timing analysis at any point in the design cycle.
* Multi-threshold (MT) CMOS technology is implemented together with dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS) to reduce dynamic and standby (leakage) power for different operating conditions.
* Design methodologies are demonstrated for power-gating cell wake-up/sleep control, power isolation and timing signoff for voltage islands.
* ARM Intelligent Energy Manager (IEM) technology supports dynamic voltage and frequency scaling, and is now being extended to include leakage control using power gating and state retention under software control.

About TSMC
TSMC is the world’s largest dedicated semiconductor foundry, providing the industry’s leading process technology and the foundry industry’s largest portfolio of process-proven library, IP, design tools and reference flows. The company operates two advanced twelve-inch wafer fabs, five eight-inch fabs and one six-inch wafer fab. TSMC also has substantial capacity commitments at its wholly owned subsidiaries, WaferTech and TSMC (Shanghai), and its joint venture fab, SSMC. TSMC is the first foundry to provide 65nm production capabilities. Its corporate headquarters are in Hsinchu, Taiwan. For more information about TSMC please see

About ARM
ARM designs the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products, from mobile, home and enterprise solutions to embedded and emerging applications. ARM’s comprehensive product offering includes 16/32-bit RISC microprocessors, data engines, 3D processors, digital libraries, embedded memories, peripherals, software and development tools, as well as analog functions and high-speed connectivity products. Combined with the company’s broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies. More information on ARM is available at


ARM is registered trademark of ARM Limited. ARM926EJ-S is trademark of ARM Limited. All other brands or product names are the property of their respective holders. “ARM” is used to represent ARM Holdings plc; its operating company ARM Limited; and the regional subsidiaries ARM INC.; ARM KK; ARM Korea Ltd.; ARM Taiwan; ARM France SAS; ARM Consulting (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.; ARM Belgium N.V.; AXYS Design Automation Inc.; AXYS GmbH; ARM Embedded Technologies Pvt. Ltd.; and ARM Physical IP, Inc.


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