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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: 3390; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


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

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 02:49 2

10. vincelongman (Posts: 4159; 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 (limited) (Posts: 559; Member since: 15 Jan 2015)


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: 4159; 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 (limited) (Posts: 559; Member since: 15 Jan 2015)


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: 4159; 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 (limited) (Posts: 559; Member since: 15 Jan 2015)


@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: 1514; 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: 3335; 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: 317; 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: 8890; 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: 423; 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: 4159; 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: 317; 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 (Posts: 3271; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


true samsung does build the best processors for samsung and apple, but the article here is
INNOVATION = SAMSUNG
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: 1498; 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: 4159; 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: 985; 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: 3390; 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: 4159; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


http://semiaccurate.com/2013/05/28/samsung-talks-about-their-14nm-finfet-process/

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 (limited) (Posts: 559; Member since: 15 Jan 2015)


+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: 1126; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)


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

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 10:24

44. guest (Posts: 338; Member since: 13 Jun 2012)


It's coming. Cherry trail in a couple of quarters and Broxton EOY / Q1 2016. I suspect it will be at least equivalent to "10nm" Samsung except cheaper and more power efficient.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:15 3

16. rockers123 (Posts: 135; Member since: 08 Sep 2013)


Not at all, Intel is dreaming to start 10nm at the end of 2016 while Samsung has already demoes... Just check their mobile SOCs, horrible graphics and not even par with the competition.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:21 6

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


And is it real 10nm of just 10nm FEOL on 20nm (or 14nm) BEOL ??

Because intel 10nm is total 10nm ..

And i doubt you will see any "10nm" from Samsung before 2016 , most likely around the same time Intel releases their 10nm...

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:34 2

25. vincelongman (Posts: 4159; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


No info from Samsung on FEOL/BEOL yet
Also he's wrong
Intel say they will have 10nm ready in 2016
Samsung say they will have 10nm in 2017

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 08:40

36. engineer-1701d (Posts: 3271; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


this is like the intel commercial, intel has tech to use your face as a password, hahahaha yeah like my gs3

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 10:19

42. guest (Posts: 338; Member since: 13 Jun 2012)


Intel is already shipping "10nm" they just call it 14nm ;-)

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 20:02 2

53. renz4 (Posts: 317; Member since: 10 Aug 2013)


oh come on. since when graphic is intel strong suit?

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:20 1

20. rockers123 (Posts: 135; Member since: 08 Sep 2013)


And compare your mighty's 14nm Cherryview with Exynos, I'm sure you'll lose hopes on Intel...

http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/compare/1754567?baseline=1780313

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:23

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


that info is most likely BS , even current 22nm baytrail is better than that ...
http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/search?utf8=✓&q=z3770

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:31 2

24. vincelongman (Posts: 4159; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Also TSMC's 16nm is worse than Samsung (hence why Apple reluctantly switched back to Samsung straight away)

TSMC's 16nm is still has 20nm FEOL and 20nm BEOL, just FinFET instead of planar

Here a comparison of Intel 14nm, TSMC 20nm/16nm and Samsung 14nm LPE (no word their on 14nm LPP yet)
http://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Cell-SizeComparison.png

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 16:14

49. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8890; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Its not going to be hard for Samsung to buy an Intel die and reverse engineer it an see how to make their own.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:17

19. medtxa (Posts: 1126; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)


yeah but performance and the efficiency is what matter.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 03:25

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


thats not what its in question here ; its their statement of going up to 5nm when it might not even be real 5nm...

(having a Ferrary car toy doesn't qualify has having a Ferrary )

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 08:42 1

37. engineer-1701d (Posts: 3271; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


ferrari? right

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 12:01

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


sorry, Ferrari ... (not much sleep ;) )

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 09:11

41. medtxa (Posts: 1126; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)


what i said is the performance/eficiency is that of 14nm even if its only half14nm.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 12:04

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


well as long as it gets the speed i dont care lol

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 08:37 2

35. engineer-1701d (Posts: 3271; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


people just hate on samsung

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 20:53

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


Yup, they should bow down and thank them for all they're doing for the tech world. Samsung is king, you think they're big now? rofl, give them a few more years.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 10:21

43. guest (Posts: 338; Member since: 13 Jun 2012)


Which Intel has already been shipping for years :-)

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 04:10

27. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 3718; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Yeah, 1nm please.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 07:02 8

32. shahrooz (Posts: 715; Member since: 17 Sep 2013)


Those who say Samsung does not innovate are ignorant and disgraceful, no Samsung fan here but kodus to them. Just look at recent Samsung articles and compare them to others!

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 09:09 2

40. tech-lover (Posts: 108; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)


نه آقا شهروز درود.No I'm a samsung fan and always will be because they are the most innovative company in whole world.they are fighting with multiple big brand in everything..all the very best sammy .your haters are simply brainless and guys with no aknowledge. 삼성 사랑해요.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 20:55

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


Yeah, but these are fan boys were dealing with. Samsung is not even on the same plane as these other small time players. Let them enjoy their phones, well enjoy ours :)

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 09:00

38. hortizano (Posts: 290; Member since: 22 May 2013)


0nm!! God mode!! ..and what is a nm? nano-mixels? near-melting? Geeez.. sometimes I sound like a troll... =)

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 16:17 2

50. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8890; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Nanometer

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 09:06 1

39. j2001m (Posts: 2836; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


Hm, big deal about the later cpu, look what's going into the s6 ddr4 at 20nm ( that why Pple just got a very big order with them) 32gb 5.1 mem again. A 1st, please note that Apple was only able to make the 1st iphome due to samsung tech, without it no phone

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