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Made in USA - Samsung's new Texas foundry to produce Apple's A5 processors, possibly A6 as well

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Made in USA - Samsung's new Texas foundry to produce Apple's A5 processors, possibly A6 as well
Apple's first dual-core processor, the A5, was designed based on chip architecture supplied by the Brits from ARM Holdings, who hold the lion's share of mobile processor licensees, thanks to their excellent power consumption/performance ratio. The A5 first debuted in the iPad 2 in March, then appeared in the iPhone 4S, consistently occupying top places in benchmark rankings.

Up until now it was assumed that, while designed by Apple's engineers, the chip is actually manufactured in Asia by Samsung, but "people familiar with the operation" have disclosed for Reuters that the A5 is actually now made in Samsung's brand spanking new foundry in Austin, Texas. It's a $3.6 billion endeavor the size of nine football fields, which started full motion in the beginning of this month.

Samsung already had a NAND flash memory factory in Austin, and upgraded it in 2007 for $3.5 billion, but the new addition is for non-memory silicon, like the A5 system-on-a-chip (SoC). The only other such factory of Samsung is on its home turf in South Korea. In addition to the latest $3.6 billion expansion, Samsung said it will have a 50-person team that will work on designing new SoCs to go into smartphones, tablets, digital TV sets, and so on.

Made in USA - Samsung's new Texas foundry to produce Apple's A5 processors, possibly A6 as well
The NAND flash factory, which started in 1996, its expansion in 2007, and the non-memory chips one that just started operation, are the largest foreign investment in Texas, to the tune of $12.6 billion so far, and employ 2400 people, counting on steady supply of engineers from the University of Texas. Let's not forget that the state is also home to Texas Instruments, which is headquartered in Dallas. Government Rick Perry cut the ribbon of the 2007 expansion (pictured on the right), but we wonder if he had time off to do the same now, considering how busy he is with the presidential campaign.

Apple was trying to break away from Samsung for its upcoming A6 chip, initiating trial runs with the TSMC foundries, but these efforts have allegedly ended with the bulk of the A6 chip production going again to Samsung, which seems to be the only one with the capacity to produce 28nm chips with enough yield and quality to satisfy Apple's demands. That $3.6 billion investment in Austin only makes sense then, and the marking on Apple's processors might read "Designed in California, made in Texas" starting this month.

source: Reuters

13 Comments
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posted on 16 Dec 2011, 03:40 10

1. Bluedroid (Posts: 57; Member since: 12 Sep 2011)


Apple Iphone should be branded samsung inside (like intel inside) !

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 03:58 3

2. tacohunter (Posts: 408; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)


It's not a samsung designed chip but an apple A5 chip. Samsung makes them for apple.

Nonetheless that would be funny indeed

+1

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 09:55 9

6. remixfa (Posts: 14193; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


Make no mistake, it is a samsung chip. They call it "apple designed" because there is a slight modification to the chip. The only real difference between the A5 and the Exynos is that apple changed out the GPU and went with the stronger PowerVR. The rest is apple marketing to make u think that they are really doing the lifting.. when they are not.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 10:19 2

8. tacohunter (Posts: 408; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)


I did some googling first to reply. I know you love talking about chips (not the food xD)

Personally i don't think there the same, but they use both ARM holdings technology. I think apple started from ARM holdings technology not from the Exynos. Because of the release date (maybe) I think it's a bit underclocked because of batterly life a prior in iPhones. And yes apple changed out the GPU and went with the stronger PowerVR. So it's not all about marketing. But certainely it is a part of it.

Here i found a comparisment and remix is right:
http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-apple-a5-and-vs-samsung-exynos-4210/

Remix i'm impressed how do you know so much about these kind of stuffs. Did you search it or do you just kow it?

+1 for having such a great knowledge about this.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 12:34 1

9. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


I think remix just keeps up on new chips and stuff... obviously as new information comes out he has to read up on it but he always seems quick on his feet with responses to anything regarding processors.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 14:26 1

10. greathero1 (Posts: 495; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)


How would you know who was doing the heavy lifting? Why cannot Apple design their own chips and take their plans to Samsung to produce? If it was just an Exynos with all of those Samsung patents, would they really let Apple take the design to let somebody else manufacture it for them? Apple does have R&D facilities set up for things like this so why could they not have started with ARM architecture and do a little heavy lifting? Since the A5 was released a little earlier than the Exynos, why is it hard to believe that Samsung maybe took some ideas from the latter or whatever? Just questions bro.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 15:09 1

13. tacohunter (Posts: 408; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)


@greathero1

If samsung will manufacture it doesn't mean it's a samsung design chip. And they got similarities. But A5 is directly designed on ARM technology and the Exynos also. They're almost the same chip. So samsung will clearly make this chip with the quality that apple wants. Ask remix he knows almost everything of this topic.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 04:01 5

3. tacohunter (Posts: 408; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)


Qoute:

"Samsung, which seems to be the only one with the capacity to produce 28nm chips with enough yield and quality to satisfy Apple's demands"

Quality and yield also very important to apple and samsung.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 08:59

4. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


it would be funny if samsung made a really crappy processor but on test model rigged it to be good so they think its good at apple but then consumers hate it cause its only like 400mhz or something :p SABOTAGE B!TCHES

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 09:54 1

5. remixfa (Posts: 14193; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


just as a note its "governer perry" not "government". :)

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 09:56 1

7. remixfa (Posts: 14193; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


its good to see more jobs coming back to america. Im sure its not an amazing coincidence that the jobs are going to a state with very low tax barriers.. you know.. because they increase job growth. Something to think about.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 14:49 1

12. greathero1 (Posts: 495; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)


Again, great to see these jobs come to the great state of Texas! Which is my home state by the way. Just had to stick that in there lol. As for low tax barrier states, that is not an absolute and there are many other factors to consider. Politics aside, if you look at employment statistics from Dept of Labor released toward the end of Nov, California created 239,000 jobs from Oct 10 - Oct 11 while Texas had created 231,600. California is the 2nd highest tax state in the country. Using that reasoning, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Rhode Island would be hoarding all the jobs but that is not the case.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 14:46 1

11. greathero1 (Posts: 495; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)


Great to see these jobs come to the great state of TX!

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