Samsung is apparently upping the ante with plans to implement a faster 10nm semiconductor technology in future Exynos processors and chips produced for third parties.
Things got a little weird earlier this year when Samsung started distancing itself from Qualcomm, the firm which has, for some time now, been the leading player in the mobile chipset space and which has provided processor for pretty much every major handset outside of Apple’s stable.
Qualcomm had provided chips for most of Samsung’s flagship devices in recent years, but rumours emerged, and were proven true, that Samsung’s Galaxy S6 series was not going to carry Qualcomm hardware. It then emerged that Samsung was apparently putting in effort to outclass Qualcomm at its own game, with a lot of spend put into Samsung’s chip division, manufacturing, and developing its Exynos chip series to overtake Snapdragon. Samsung has created chip hardware for Apple for several years, and that looks set to continue too.
There was, perhaps understandably, some scepticism, but Samsung managed to surprise everyone when the Exynos 7420 proved to be one of the best performing chips of the current generation, if not THE best…so far.
Part of that success is attributed to Samsung’s adoption of 14nm FinFET manufacturing, essentially meaning it uses faster, cooler, and more efficient semiconductor tech for its chipsets, in contrast to the Snapdragon 810 20nm, and elements of the 810’s design which reportedly caused overheating problems and resulting performance issues.
According to an official announcement video posted by Samsung, the firm is adding a 10nm FinFET manufacturing process to its “foundry roadmap”, that is to say, plans for its production facilities. That means such tech is not being reserved exclusively for Samsung’s Exynos chips, although it will almost certainly make its way into them. The announcement follows a similar revelation by rival producer TSMC, so this would appear to be a case of Samsung challenging the competition.
However, while TSMC says it will run trial production of 10nm hardware inside 2015, Samsung has not yet stated when it will begin 10nm trials, although it previously had planned to do so in the tail end of 2016 following its reveal of 10nm prototype “wafers”. It is planning to expand current 14nm production inside 2015 though.
Predictions for the move to 10nm include a 40% drop in processor power consumption, as well as a 20% boost to performance speeds.
Processor arms race winding down, you say? Not a chance.