Leakster says the Snapdragon 830 will be built on a 10 nm process


It may be a bit early to talk about a Snapdragon 830 yet — the major refreshes of Qualcomm's top-of-the-line SoC are usually released early in the year. The Snapdragon 820 shipped with smartphones that were launched in March of this year, and we don't expect the 830 to hit the market until the same month of 2017. However, this hasn't stopped a leakster from boldly claiming that the Snapdragon 830 has, indeed, been confirmed by Qualcomm's CEO, and that it will be built on a 10 nm process.

The report comes from a post on Chinese social media Weibo. There isn't much else mentioned, besides that the expected launch date would be early next year – something that could also be pinned by an educated guess. However, the promise of a 10 nm process is a bit exciting.

The current heavy-hitting Systems on Chip out there (like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and Samsung Exynos 8890) are built on a 14 nm process. What does this mean? It simply means that the distance between the components inside the chip – such as transistors, resistors, and capacitors, is 14 nanometers — 14 billionths of a meter. Physically speaking, reducing that distance to 10 nm could either open up room for more components, or allow for an overall smaller chip to be built.

However, there is another benefit of components being stacked closely together. For example, if the microprocessor is shrinked, there will be lower capacitance between the different transistors, increasing their switching frequency (processing speed), and decreasing their power consumption – a win-win!

So, how plausible is this report? Well, we've already been teased that Qualcomm's primary competitor — MediaTek — is currently working on producing a deca-core chipset, named Helio X30, built on a 10 nm process. We find it unbelievable that Qualcomm would allow itself to lag behind with technology, especially since it already has a red dot on its résumé from the whole overheating / throttling ordeal with last year's Snapdragon 810. So, we'd say it's pretty plausible. But, we wouldn't dare hope that the upcoming (rumored) Snapdragon 821 will be built on anything below the contemporary 14 nm fabrication process.


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