This unknown company is partially responsible for more powerful iPhone and Android handsets

This unknown company is partially responsible for more powerful iPhone and Android handsets
Some of you might be familiar with Moore's Law. Named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, the law says that the number of transistors doubles on a chip every other year. Chips produced by TSMC and Samsung use the 7nm and 8nm process respectively, allowing more transistors to be packed into a smaller area. This allows chip designers like Qualcomm, Huawei, Samsung and Apple to create chips more powerful than the previous generation, while consuming less power. This also allows phone manufacturers to produce thinner handsets.

Bloomberg today reports on a little known Japanese firm that plays a large role in allowing chipmakers to increase the number of transistors in each new generation of chips. Lasertec Corp. is the only company in the world that makes testing equipment for a manufacturing process called extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) that only TSMC and Samsung will be using later this year. With not too many techniques left to etch small circuitry onto silicon wafers, EUV uses plasma beams to etch lines smaller than 7nm on silicon wafers. Lasertec has a machine that tests the glass masks that the plasma beams are sent through in order to trace out the circuity pattern.

Lasertec's machine looks for imperfections. Any thing less than perfection in this stage of chip production can result in a bad batch of chips that will have to be discarded. So far, the company says that it has received orders for the machine valued at the equivalent of $36 million. The company expects more orders once TSMC and Samsung start increasing mass production of chips using the 7nm EUV process. The expense of using EUV has limited the number of foundries using the process. Intel says it is not yet economically feasible to employ EUV, and Globalfoundries has decided to stay clear of it.

According to Samsung, 7nm EUV will allow the company to build chips that are 40% more efficient, resulting in a 20% performance boost while dropping power consumption by 50%. And that is the kind of information that smartphone power users love to hear.

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6 Comments

1. Mike88

Posts: 228; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

Error - Samsung is yet to unveil a 7nm chip. Their exynos in S10 is 8nm... Apple iphone XS is the first to bring 7nm chip made my TSMC and it's currently the most powerful chip in the market. Much better than other 7nm chips from other companies... Their A12x processor used in ipad pro 3rd Gen is currently the fastest mobile processor which is even faster than 90% of all the laptops in the world.

3. Vyshak75

Posts: 69; Member since: Mar 03, 2016

But its not EUV. TSMC is still using FinFet.

4. Mike88

Posts: 228; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

but they will bring the first 5nm chip before Samsung will reach 7nm...

5. Loveneesh

Posts: 430; Member since: Jul 14, 2015

A12x is not made for smartphone, it's made specifically for iPads(tablets). And what is useful of having a powerful processor when you don't have a good software for it? Ios is a great os for smartphones but not good looking and useful in iPads, Apple should make a software or a more twicked ios version for iPads.

2. sherman0422

Posts: 11; Member since: Apr 03, 2015

"On the key new features of the Snapdragon 855 is a new DSP. It's called the Hexagon 690 and features a new Tensor Accelerator, designed specifically for AI-related stuff. This is Qualcomm's entry in the AI-enabled smartphone chip race, of which Apple and Huawei are both involved. Qualcomm's AI chip achieves 7 trillion calculations per second, which is 2 trillion more than the A12 Bionic"

6. ultimatewarrior

Posts: 16; Member since: Feb 19, 2014

Can someone try to explain in lehmens terms, why phones with 7nm chips are not lasting much longer than phones with 28nm chips. Like how PA runs its custom thing that's the same for all smartphones, why are modern smartphones not lasting much longer?

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