UK chip designer ARM has marked a significant departure from its traditional business model by announcing two dual-core implementations of its Cortex A9 designs that it claims reduce the barriers to entry into the chip business.
Traditionally, semiconductor companies like Qualcomm, NVIDIA and Texas Instruments have licensed specific pieces of IP (intellectual property) from ARM and incorporated them into their own SoC (system on chip) designs, which then become core components in things like mobile phones, embedded applications and, increasingly computers. We call this the ARM ecosystem.
What ARM is claiming with this latest development - internally codenamed Osprey - is that even companies without the dedicated design teams and budgets of the companies above can now develop silicon based around two "hard macro implementations" for the TSMC 40nm-G process.
Furthermore, ARM reckons the performance of these macros is far superior to anything Intel has to offer on a performance per watt basis.
And just to remind you, Cortex A9 is the latest version of ARM's most powerful processor design that's scalable to four cores.