Move over, 20nm, 2015 will be the year of fast and frugal 16nm mobile chipsets

Move over, 20nm, 2015 will be the year of fast and frugal 16nm mobile chipsets
TSMC has taped out a 16nm process that is 40% faster than the current 20nm designs, like Apple's A8, or Samsung's Exynos 7, yet consumes 50% less power, paving the way for even faster and more frugal mobile chipsets next year.

The 16FF+ production method of the foundry will pass quality and reliability certifications this month, and will be ready to go into cusomter processors next year, with 60 designs already lined up, said TSMC. The new 16nm chipsets allow up to 2.3 GHz ARM Cortex-A57 core speeds, with their frugal Cortex-A53 sidekicks consuming just 75mW for the mundane tasks.

What this all means is that next year we will have even faster and at the same time more battery-efficient phones and tablets, which can all get behind, so we can't wait to see what chipsets will Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung and the others churn out with the new technology. Actually, it's Huawei that is one of the first clients for the 16nm manufacturing process of TSMC, so look for a fast and power-humble Kirin chipset to hit its flagships pretty soon.

source: Digitimes

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27 Comments

1. vincelongman

Posts: 5723; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I hope Samsung get the Apple contract again I want TSMC to focus on AMD/Nvidia, so we can have better GPUs capable of 4K 120 fps for VR sooner Also rumor has it that MS/Sony will make slim editions with 16 nm in a couple years time as well

16. mafiaprinc3

Posts: 585; Member since: May 07, 2012

can't wait better performace, better battey life. this should be great!

2. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

16nm for mobile SoCs and 20nm for desktops :)

3. Felix_Gatto

Posts: 942; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

Sorry, but Intel have already ahead of the competition with 14nm Broadwell for both desktop and mobile devices.

7. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

hmmmm...... I stand corrected. I was under the impression the Core M released was 20nm apparently. But I am more interested in the desktop version of Broadwell. Have any idea when they'll be release ? and what's the architecture of Skylate ? 14nm ?

8. Felix_Gatto

Posts: 942; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

In near future, my friend. Skylake is based in 14nm but with a better architecture. Broadwell is tick and Skylake is tock(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Tick-Tock)​.

11. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

Ummm, desktops? What desktops? Core M is notebook only and intel is yet to announce Broadwell for desktop, let alone to see any real product with it.

13. vincelongman

Posts: 5723; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Core M is this year, some are already announced, e.g. Yoga Pro 3 Broadwell for desktops and laptops is Q1 next year And Skylake is supposedly Q4 next year

19. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

Yes, my comment just says that they are NOT YET in production. So giving them an advantage when they have not been even announced is a little bit too much.

4. Felix_Gatto

Posts: 942; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

Next year, Intel's Skylake will make the competition left behid even further.

5. Felix_Gatto

Posts: 942; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

And even further in 2016 with 10nm Cannonlake.

12. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

And that one is even more difficult to believe...

15. vincelongman

Posts: 5723; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Intel have typically been somewhat head E.g. while Samsung/TSMC were using P 28 nm, Intel were using FF 22 nm This year Samsung/TSMC are using P 20 nm, Intel are using FF 14 nm So its not that hard to believe when Samsung/TSMC using FF 14 nm/FF+ 16 nm, Intel using FF 10 nm Though the gap is closing, especially since its going to get a lot harder/more costly as they get smaller

18. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

I'm fully aware of all that, but my comment is that the gap is closing. 14 nm FF for Intel just started this quarter. 16 nm for TSMC will start next quarter, that's 6 month advantage, they used to have 18 months. One example of that: this year may be the first one that we'll see Samsung, TSMC and Intel building on the same node technology.

24. guest

Posts: 372; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

@TylerGrunter TSM 16nm is 20nm with Trigate so not even close to 14 nm Intel. That gap is much greater than 6 months. Intel is already in productiong with 2nd generation FinFET while Sammie and TSM have yet to launch 1st generation Finfet. So the lead is still along 24 months assuming Sammie / TSM ever get there. Last schedule I saw was TSM 16 FF+ at the End of 2015 by then Intel 10 will be around the corner. If Sammie can skip 20nm planar and go directly to 14/16nm FinFET that will be impressive. We will see if they can pull it off. As it stands Intel is widening their lead since their cost / transistor is going down while the other fabs are going up.

26. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

10 nm around the corner by the end of 2015? I don´t think so. Intel takes more than 2 years in a tick-tock. By the end of 2015 with luck they´ll have skylake, for 10 nm don´t expect them to have it ready till end of 2016, if not already in 2017. Samsung HAS already 20nm planar, all the Exynos 543X are there. So are the Apple A8/A8X Samsung build for them (on top of TSMC). Their plan is 14 nm FinFet mid next year, which would put them on the same ground as Intel and just 6 months behind.

23. guest

Posts: 372; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Umm gap is not even closing if anything it is widening at a bigger rate. 28nm planar vs 22nm FinFET / trigate. 14 nm Intel is > Sammie / TSMC FF by a mile. Intel check the specs. Intel is has produced a real shrink while Sammie / TSMC have not. Prices are going down for Intel but are going up for TSM. Please research before you post.

27. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

As said it seems you lost the latest news: it´s now 22 nm FinFet vs 20 nm planar, and both bor Samsung and TSMC. The only real advantage is FinFet and if the reports are true next year will be gone. Please research before YOU post.

6. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Bring it on.

9. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

For the 999th time , its not 16nm ( its marketing) ... Its still 20nm,but with finfet implementation ...

10. Iodine

Posts: 1493; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Maybe not that much of a shrink at all, but big leap forward in lower power.

14. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

I remember reading articles last year about how 14nm chips would be out in Q2 or Q3 of this year. That obviously never happened unless you count Intel. On a related note, the fact that qualcomm doesn't have any real competition sucks. I mean having to release flagship phones like the S5 & HTC M8 with same chip as in last year's Nexus & calling it a 801 when it's just a overclocked 800 with outdated tech is Pathetic!

17. surethom

Posts: 1715; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

What we need to Lower powered displays, as this is the number one in battery usage. But any speed & power saving is very nice.

20. JMartin22

Posts: 2372; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

Exactly this. Anything after 20nm is going to feel placebo. But these big 5.5-6 inch displays with gargantuan resolutions are the real hamper on battery life.

21. jopancy

Posts: 78; Member since: Apr 25, 2012

Yeah... yawn. .. can't wait for the 5nm chips, battery would last 73 days with intensive use. Yawn....

22. twens

Posts: 1180; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

1nm will serve you better.

25. guest

Posts: 372; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Tape out is not the same as production. After tape out there is still a long way to go to production. "The first Cortex-A15 built on 20nm with TSMC taped out in 2011. If Chang’s remarks are accurate, we might see such a chip come to market in 2014 or 2015 — three or four years after tape-out." http://www.extremetech.com/computing/152382-arm-tsmc-complete-16nm-cortex-a57-tape-out-chip-launching-no-time-soon

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