The mutual flirtation between UK low power processor designer ARM, and new chip manufacturer on the block GlobalFoundries was taken up a notch last week as Tudor Brown, the president and second in command at ARM, flew down to sunny Dresden to hear all about the clever things GlobalFoundries is up to at its first manufacturing facility .
The appropriately named Fab 1 is the site investor ATIC acquired when it became the majority owner of AMD's spun-off manufacturing operations. Right now it's still mainly given over to producing CPUs for AMD, but as GlobalFoundries has made clear, its target market is the next generation of SoC (system on chip) that use the 28nm manufacturing process.
This is the only direction for GlobalFoundries if it wants to grow. It's not going to get any business from Intel, which has loads of its own fabs and has already made it clear that if it needs help with SoCs, that will come from GlobalFoundries biggest competitor - TSMC.
Among the PC semiconductor companies that leaves NVIDIA as the last remaining biggie, and even if its CEO hadn't just publicly pushed GlobalFoundries away, that would still not be enough to base a business model on.
The real growth and diversification in the semiconductor sector for the foreseeable future will be in the manufacture of SoCs - the increasingly powerful chipsets that are expected to be found within a wide variety of mobile computing devices, including smartphones and smartbooks. So it's here that GlobalFoundries will increasingly focus.
The slide below shows GlobalFoundries' technology roadmap, with the Super High Performance category being what it delivers to AMD and the Super Low Power one being what is hoped will attract SoC designers.