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Samsung: we can go all the way down to 5nm chipsets, and maybe beyond

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Samsung: we can go all the way down to 5nm chipsets, and maybe beyond
Samsung is currently at the forefront of mobile chipset development, as it is expected to release the Galaxy S6 with a shovel-ready 14nm Exynos 7420 processor of its own making, and said that it has already developed a 10nm FinFET production technology. Where does this all end, before we have chips the size of a pinky nail that are as powerful as our aging desktop computers, and way more frugal?

Well, it seemingly ends at 5nm, Samsung's Kinam Kim has confirmed at the ongoing ISSCC conference: "there are no fundamental difficulties until 5nm," he said. And then? Well, combining some obscure sounding production technologies, Samsung apparently has mapped out possibilities for shrinking the size even further, to the whopping 3.25nm, but these developments are obviously meant for quite a few years from now, unless some disruption happens in the meantime. For now, we are perfectly content with 14nm, given the record benchmark scores that the S6 commands.

source: Nikkei

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posted on 25 Feb 2015, 02:40

1. heysamad (Posts: 52; Member since: 24 Apr 2014)

Apple and Samsung produce the best processors IMO. Hoping Qualcomm catches up soon.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 02:46 47

5. tech2 (Posts: 3482; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)

'Apple produce processors'.........LOL

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 02:49 2

10. vincelongman (Posts: 4676; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

True, but Apple do design their own processors
He should have said "...Apple and Samsung design the best processors IMO..."

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 02:59 7

12. Kumar123 (unregistered)

Samsung use ARM reference design for their processor and they do not design their processor. Apple design their processor. Then Apple hire Semiconductor Manufacturing Company like TSMC, Samsung to manufacture it.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:16 14

18. vincelongman (Posts: 4676; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

Samsung do use reference ARM core designs
But Samsung use their own custom implementation (different the custom implementation use by Qualcomm in the 810 or Nvidia in the X1/32bit K1)
So Samsung to design their own processors

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:38 2

26. Kumar123 (unregistered)

I respectfully disagree with your logic here. They simply tweaked the core interconnector that enable the big.LITTLE heterogeneous multiprocessing . Simply tweaking or changing the interconnector design for the SoS does not mean they design their processor. I'm not belittling Samsung's effort here. All the android SoS manufacturer will use core 64 bit ARM design CPU but different manufacturer use different interconnector. Qualcomm and Nvidia has their own GPU so it's not fully ARM reference but Samsung use the full CPU,GPU package. Correct me if I'm wrong.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 04:11 9

28. vincelongman (Posts: 4676; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

But its still designed by Samsung
Samsung do make some parts, e.g. memory and memory controler
Also the design process would include decide what clockrates to set, which Samsung would have to test and decide

E.g. a MacBook Air
Uses parts by Intel, Samsung, LG, Foxcom, ...
But is still designed by Apple

If you can find a die shot of the 5433 and compare it with the 810 or X1 they will all look very different, even the CPU sections will have differences

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 05:31 1

30. Kumar123 (unregistered)

@vincelongman I think I understand what you mean when you said Samsung design their processor. TylerGrunter comment certainly helped.

@TylerGrunter I know that SoC is more than just CPU and GPU. But your comment helped me understand that we're arguing about two different things so Thank You.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 04:59 4

29. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1542; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

There is more to a SoC than just the CPU cores and the GPU, like the ISP, DSP, modems, locators, memory and interconnections (South and North Bridges).
So it is quite right to say that Samsung designs their own SoCs.
Same as Mediatek does, as they also use vanilla ARM parts.

On the other hand it would not be correct to say they desing the processor cores or the GPU. So if vincelongman referts with "processors" to the SoC he is righ, if he refers to the CPU cores he would be wrong.
But at least I understood he was referring to the SoC.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 20:49

54. simpleas (Posts: 196; Member since: 30 Apr 2014)

kumar... the point is, apple can't be without samsung. You better thank them.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 07:35 2

33. sgodsell (Posts: 4001; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

I hope you know Apple's processors are ARM to begin with. Apple bought from ARM the licence to use ARMs reference designs. Only they are allowed to modify and add in their own stuff. Which Apple did modify and change things to make their own AX processors. But all iPhones, iPads, iPod touches, are all ARM based to begin with.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 19:52

51. renz4 (Posts: 318; Member since: 10 Aug 2013)

AFAIK the license to use reference design and to use the ISA to create your own custom core is two different thing. AFAIK apple only license the ISA so they can come up with their own custom core. but the way i heard about it licensing the ISA is much more expensive than licensing ARM reference core. also it is my understanding that Apple did not license the reference design to create their own SoC. more like it was build from the scratch with apple own effort. they just license the ISA. it is the same with qualcomm Krait. right now the only player that license ARM ISA to make their own core (that i know of) is Apple, Nvidia and Qualcomm. but probably Qualcomm did not license the ISA for ARM v8 since the upcoming SoC from qualcomm still using ARM reference core (A72)

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 16:06

48. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 11125; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

Dude are you high? Both Apple and Samsung are both ARM licensees. The difference is, Apple takes the design and changes it to how they want and Samsung does too. Which is why they have the big/little SoC. Samsung actually fabricates their own SoC while Apple pays Samsung for the same.

As far as I know, Samsung has never paid an outside company to make the Exynos.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:00

13. GeorgeDao123 (Posts: 431; Member since: 20 Aug 2013)

It should have been "Apple designs processors and has Samsung to produce them".

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:16 6

17. brunelian92 (Posts: 79; Member since: 04 Feb 2015)

Rather it should be that samsung designs the process to manufacture the process apple wants. Its comparatively easy to design a 14nm - 10nm or even smaller processor. But samsung is the one who does the research to produce them.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 02:49 4

7. vincelongman (Posts: 4676; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

Yea, Qualcomm got lazy after the S4 Pro and 800 dominated the Android/Windows Phones

Qualcomm's (and Nvidia) are going to have a hard time keeping up since Apple/Samsung will most likely always be ahead when it comes to build process (e.g. 28nm 805 vs 20nm 5433, 20nm 810 vs 14nm 7420)

Qualcomm needs to design an ARMv8 custom core sooner or later

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 19:58

52. renz4 (Posts: 318; Member since: 10 Aug 2013)

heard that nvidia will move to samsung to fab their tegra. it wasn't new actually. in 2012 there are rumors about nvidia testing their chip at samsung. back then 28nm is still new and the capacity was quite constraint. probably fearing nvidia move their tegra production to samsung TSMC give nvidia some capacity from Qualcomm and AMD to meet nvidia production demand.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 08:30 1

34. engineer-1701d (unregistered)

true samsung does build the best processors for samsung and apple, but the article here is
wow they are pushing tech

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 02:41 5

2. pakaaz (Posts: 5; Member since: 05 Jun 2013)

year 2020 Samsung will start with 0.5nm chipsets

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 06:35 5

31. yoosufmuneer (Posts: 1509; Member since: 14 Feb 2015)

While the rest of the world be with 20nm

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 14:48

47. brunelian92 (Posts: 79; Member since: 04 Feb 2015)

Just as a side note quantum tunneling won't allow transistors that thin ;)

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 20:51 1

55. simpleas (Posts: 196; Member since: 30 Apr 2014)

For simple tunnelling-barrier models, such as the rectangular barrier, an analytic solution exists. Problems in real life often do not have one, so "semiclassical" or "quasiclassical" methods have been developed to give approximate solutions to these problems, like the WKB approximation. Probabilities may be derived with arbitrary precision, constrained by computational resources, via Feynman's path integral method; such precision is seldom required in engineering practice.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 02:44 1

3. vincelongman (Posts: 4676; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

Wow 5nm with silicon?
Intel said they will move away from silicon at 7nm

Its going to be interesting to see what happens after 10nm
I wonder if Intel can maintain their lead, or if Samsung will forge ahead
And also to see if TSMC can keep up with Intel/Samsung after 10nm

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 02:45 20

4. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 994; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)

Must be a hard pill to swallow for the Samsung haters out there :)

This is innovation that will benefit the industry and many consumers.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 02:49 17

9. tech2 (Posts: 3482; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)

Unlike Sony, HTC and Nokia. Samsung really takes its loss of market share/profit seriously !

They've addressed all their criticism from last year, bad design, bloated TouchWiz (check the video in which its even faster then Nexus), plastic built, Amoled being oversaturated (see the Note 4's display accuracy), etc.

None of the companies out there are perfect in everything but none try harder then Samsung !

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 02:46 9

6. brrunopt (Posts: 742; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)

LOL .. Samsung's 14nm is not even real 14nm , part is still 20nm...

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 02:49

8. arch_angel (Posts: 1651; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)

show me where you got that info id like to read it myself.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 02:54 11

11. vincelongman (Posts: 4676; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Samsung's Front End of Line (FEOL) is 14nm
Their Back End of Line (BEOL) is still 20nm

Basically their 14nm process will have the 14nm speed improvements, but not the 14nm density improvements

Only Intel have full 14nm

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:07 5

14. Kumar123 (unregistered)

+1 man. Most of the user here do not even know that and will stubbornly say that you're a troll . TSMC 16nm finfet/ finfet+ is also not the real 16nm. TSMC and Samsung use hybrid solution. Only Intel have full 14nm. Intel is way ahead of other semiconductor manufacturer company. Well, atleast 1.5 years ahead of TSMC and Samsung.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:12 3

15. medtxa (Posts: 1139; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)

so what, that doesnt matter, do intel actually make 14nm mobile processor?

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