It’s not that long since ARM was, to be blunt, rather fussy about the companies to which it licensed its technology – and at what level. Today, ‘ARM in a box’ comes in a number of flavors. Somewhat appropriately, the company linked with Cadence Design Systems and TSMC at the former’s recent CDNLive user conference in Beijing, China to roll out its latest.
The launch specifically ties together ARM’s Cortex A9 Processor Optimization Pack (POP) and Cadence’s Encounter tool suite for digital designs aimed at TSMC’s 40LP (‘low power’) process. POPs add ARM’s Artisan physical IP to the core to allow better tuning across PPA (as in ‘power, performance and area’). Encounter got something of a reboot earlier this year with the addition of features such as clock concurrent optimization.
In many ways, the deal therefore represents the delivery of advanced (if not, admittedly, absolute bleeding edge) technology to design’s equivalent of the mass market. You have to suspect that something similar based around the A15 can’t be far off.
As for what the Chinese market wants out of ARM, that is also pushing the envelope. On a panel at CDN Live Beijing, John Heinlein, VP of marketing for physicial IP at ARM, noted that his division has seen more than 3,000 ARM products downloaded into 200 companies over the last year. At 65nm, current downloads are running at 2X those for 2011, but perhaps more tellingly, downloads for 28nm are up 6X year-on-year.
“We see China as a very strong and important market for advanced design,” Heinlein concluded.