Samsung has announced that it has started mass production of its new System-on-Chip (SoC) based on 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET technology, which the company claims to be an industry-first. Back in 2015, Samsung successfully started mass production of its first FinFET mobile application processor (AP), with chips based on 14nm process. The processor is expected to power Samsung s Galaxy S8 smartphone, which is likely to be unveiled in February 2017 at MWC 2017. Also Read - Best smartphones under Rs 20,000 with AMOLED display October 2021: Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, Realme X7 5G, moreAlso Read - Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, Galaxy Buds 2 Maison Kitsuné Edition launched: Here’s the first look
The industry s first mass production of 10nm FinFET technology demonstrates our leadership in advanced process technology. We will continue our efforts to innovate scaling technologies and provide differentiated total solutions to our customers, executive VP, head of Foundry business at Samsung Electronics, Jong Shik Yoon said. The 10nm FinFET process (10LPE) involves using an advanced 3D transistor structure, just like the existing 14nm FinFET process used for making Samsung s homebrew Exynos 7740 and Exynos 8890 processors and Qualcomm s Snapdragon 820 chipsets. Samsung says that the new process will not only boost the performance by 27 percent, but also decrease the power consumption by 40 percent. Also Read - Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition in-pics: This is the most customisable Galaxy device you can get
What is 10nm process and its benefits?
The term 10nm refers to the size of transistors used for making a chip or an integrated circuit. In the earlier days, transistors in the integrated circuits used to be about 10microns, or nearly 1,000 times larger than what we see today. Reducing the size of these transistors offers numerous benefits. To begin with, as the integrated circuits are made on fixed-size silicon sheets, making circuit smaller lets you add more chips on a given sheet. It also reduces the cost per transistor. Also, as you can fit more transistors in the same amount of space, you get greater performance at the same cost.
Reducing the distance between transistors decreases the power consumption required to activate them. It also makes it easier to efficiently get the signal from one transistor to another. All this helps to reduce the overall power consumption. This also offers a couple of other benefits one you can get the same performance with less heat and power consumption, which also increases the battery life. Secondly, it also helps manufacturers to make a chipset that delivers better performance while consuming the same amount of power. ALSO READ: Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 SoC to feature 8 cores, faster LTE speeds: Report
However, the process does come with some scaling limitations as the process involves using even smaller transistors. To overcome the issues, Samsung is using some cutting edge manufacturing techniques such as routing flexibility from prior nodes and triple-pattern lithography to enable bi-directional routing for retaining design, AndroidAuthority reports.
While Samsung has not commented on the nature of chipsets that it is currently manufacturing, it did mention that the SoCs will appear on smartphones next year. Also, a recent report suggested that Qualcomm has tasked Samsung to produce its high-performance 10nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 chipsets. There are possibilities that Samsung will use the same process for making its own Exynos 8895 chipsets scheduled for smartphones in 2017. The Galaxy S8 could ship with Snapdragon 830 SoC in the US, whereas devices in rest of the regions could be powered by Exynos 8895 SoC.
Yes, Samsung has beat TSMC in the competition to get the 10nm process ready before time. It may also help Samsung s semiconductor division to get some additional business, but it may be tough to lure Apple. For those who aren t aware, Apple A9 chipsets were made by both Samsung and TSMC. However, the TSMC made A9 processor was found to outperform the Samsung-made ones. Due to this reason, Apple opted for TSMC as the sole vendor for manufacturing the A10 processors for its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. While TSMC is still trying to get its 10nm process ready before the year end, it is expected to take a big leap to 7nm process next year.