Powerhouse Partnerships for Today’s HD Imaging Chips

In today’s’ turbulent economic times, the consumer electronics market is one of the bright spots, growing at an explosive rate.  To stay abreast of the leading-edge design, engineering and performance found in today’s fast-moving mobile CE markets, including digital cameras, collaboration is key. Whether we’re aiming to improve power savings, or increase performance, working with industry partners has enabled Samsung Foundry to deliver the most innovative, high performance and low-power results for next-generation system-on-chips (SoC).

In our latest collaborative effort, we teamed up with Ambarella and Cadence Design Systems in our San Jose Foundry Design Center to produce a breakthrough 32-nanometer digital camera SoC. Ambarella’s next generation A7L HD media chip, powered by our 32-nanometer High-k Metal gate process technology, will produce 95 percent power savings during shut-off modes and 60 percent average power savings over operation and sleep mode over the previous generation chips. The A7L’s performance, design and efficiency are set to impact the state of today’s digital lifestyle HD camera applications.

For the details of the announcement, I’ve posted the official release below as well as a link to a video with Ambarella’s vice president of marketing, Chris Day. What are your thoughts on our collaboration with Ambarella? Feel free to share your comments below.

Samsung and Cadence Announce Production of Breakthrough
32nm HD Digital Camera SoC for Ambarella

Leading Technology Companies Join Forces To Deliver Competitive Advantage in Performance, Power, and Time to Market for Advanced Node SoCs 

SANTA CLARA, Calif., ARM TechCon 2011, Oct 25, 2011 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a global leader in advanced semiconductor solutions and Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CDNS), a leader in global electronic design innovation, announced today the initial production of Ambarella’s 32-nanometer (nm) HD digital camera system-on-chip (SoC). This SoC,  in production at the  S1-Line at Samsung’s Giheung facility, was built using 32nm gate-first High-k Metal Gate (HKMG) process technology from Samsung Electronics’ foundry business, Samsung Foundry, a complete Cadence digital design flow including the Encounter and Incisive platforms and ARM Cortex™ processor and Artisan® physical IP. Leveraging the combined technology leadership of Samsung Foundry and Cadence, the new Ambarella A7L SoC brings new levels of performance and power savings to digital lifestyle HD camera applications.

  “Teaming with Samsung Foundry and Cadence reduced our risk and gave us access to the most advanced foundry silicon process, superior IP and design methodology in addition to excellent design services,” said Chan Lee, vice president of VLSI, Ambarella, Inc.  “Impressively, Samsung Foundry’s process technology, combined with the Cadence digital flow, enabled us to hit our aggressive performance targets while achieving 95 percent power savings during power shutoff mode and 60 percent average power savings over operation and sleep modes.”

Collaboration on this project took place at Samsung Foundry’s design center with engineers from all three companies working side-by-side on all aspects of the Ambarella A7L SoC design, which included several million logic gates and scores of Ambarella’s custom proprietary high speed mixed signal blocks. The teams were able to combine optimized IP, silicon-proven design flows and process technology requirements in real-time to meet the Ambarella next-generation design needs. Ambarella also utilized Samsung Foundry’s full turn-key offering, including manufacturing, test and packaging, to accelerate time to market and simplify the supply chain.

“The close collaboration between industry leaders makes it possible for our customers to thrive in today’s challenging technology environment,” said Ana Hunter, vice president of Foundry, Samsung Semiconductor Inc. “Companies that invest in designs at the advanced process nodes will lead the next-generation of consumer and IT products.  Ambarella is clearly on the leading-edge of design innovation, and we’re pleased to have collaborated with Cadence to provide Ambarella with a 32nm HKMG solution for its next-generation camera SoC.”

The Ambarella A7L design took advantage of the complete digital flow from Cadence for IP integration and validation. Engineers were able to meet and exceed their aggressive performance and power design objectives using key capabilities such as intelligent power shutoff and sleep modes. The integrated design flow included the Encounter® Digital Implementation System, featuring the NanoRoute® Router for 32nm digital routing, Encounter RTL Compiler, Encounter Timing System, Encounter Power System, and Incisive® Enterprise Simulator, covering all elements of design, verification and implementation.   

“Cadence has established advanced node technology in production to address the many unique design complexities and advanced process rules for 32nm HKMG designs,” said Dr. Chi-Ping Hsu, senior vice president, research and development, Silicon Realization Group at Cadence. “The successful production tapeout of this Ambarella A7L design also demonstrates the synergy created when leading technology companies join forces throughout the design process, and how companies like Ambarella are benefitting from such deep collaboration.”

In advance of this project, as part of its ongoing customer shuttle program, Samsung Foundry assisted in porting all necessary Ambarella IP to its production-ready 32nm HKMG process technology to ensure that the Ambarella proprietary IP was pre-verified in the new node.  Samsung Foundry also provided silicon-proven ARM Artisan optimized logic and memory IP in support of the overall IP needed for this project.

“This industry leading 32nm HD system on chip demonstrates the strength of our industry collaboration to accelerate advanced node technology in next generation consumer devices,” said Dr. John Heinlein, vice president of marketing, Physical IP division, ARM. “Drawing on proven technology from industry leaders, including Samsung Foundry’s 32nm HKMG process technology, Cadence Encounter flow, and ARM Cortex™ processor and Artisan® physical IP, we have enabled rapid development of the Ambarella A7L design while ensuring optimal performance and power management.”

About Samsung Electronics’ Foundry Business

Samsung Electronics’ Foundry business is dedicated to support fabless and IDM semiconductor companies offering full service solutions encompassing design kits and proven IP to fully turnkey manufacturing to achieve market success with advanced IC designs by Foundry, ASIC and COT engagement. Currently in mass production at 45 nanometer (nm), and qualified for 32/28nm Samsung Foundry is also preparing next generation 20nm and beyond process technologies by leveraging the deep expertise in advanced process technologies, design technologies, as well as a long, proven track record in high-volume manufacturing along with its continued participation in the International Semiconductor Development Alliance (ISDA). For more information, please visit www.samsung.com/Foundry.


About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2010 consolidated sales of US$135.8 billion. Employing approximately 190,500 people in 206 offices across 68 countries, the company consists of nine independently operated business units: Visual Display, Mobile Communications, Telecommunication Systems, Digital Appliances, IT Solutions, Digital Imaging, Memory, System LSI and LCD. Recognized as one of the fastest growing global brands, Samsung Electronics is a leading producer of digital TVs, semiconductor chips, mobile phones and TFT-LCDs. For more information, please visit www.samsung.com.


About Cadence

Cadence enables global electronic design innovation and plays an essential role in the creation of today’s integrated circuits and electronics. Customers use Cadence software, hardware, IP, and services to design and verify advanced semiconductors, consumer electronics, networking and telecommunications equipment, and computer systems. The company is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., with sales offices, design centers, and research facilities around the world to serve the global electronics industry. More information about the company, its products, and services is available at www.cadence.com.

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