Print 40 comment(s) - last by Hector2.. on Jan 5 at 2:57 AM

Qualcomm and other Samsung clients could get a boost from novel power-saving gate design

At the Intel Develop Forum, the world's largest maker of traditional PC central processing units and server chips, Intel Corp. (INTC) is fond of expressing how it's crushing its rivals in process technology.  But by the looks of it the rest of the pack may not be as far behind as Intel would like to have you believe.

On Friday, Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930announced that it had successfully taped out a 14 nm FinFET transistor chip.  For those who don't avidly follow the CPU design industry, most traditional transistors are flat multi-layer designs (think a sandwich).  By contrast the FinFET uses a tall wall-like gate, which towers over the nanoscopic surface like a fin.  The novel 3D design allows leakage to be significantly reduced -- a key source of loss in reliability and power at sub 40-nm designs.

Intel was the first player to get FinFETs, with its 22 nm Ivy Bridgelaunched earlier this year.  It plans to roll over the technology into its mobile offerings next year.  But by the sound of it Samsung won't be far behind.

Samsung worked with a chip-optimizing firm called Synopsys to perfect the difficult process of producing the delicate FinFETs at such a small node.

A MOSFET FinFET [Image Source: Brews Ohare/Wikipedia]

Samsung LSI vice president Dr. Kyu-Myung Choi cheers, "FinFET transistors can deliver lower power consumption and higher device performance, but they also bring tough challenge.  We chose Synopsys as our FinFET collaboration partner to solve these challenges, because of our successful history together at 20 nanometer and other nodes. We continue to pool our expertise to deliver innovative FinFET solutions."

Synopsys's expertise helped Samsung characterize the prototype chips and to remove so-called "parasitic" impurities.

The chipmaking duo did not announce a time frame for commercial rollout.  But when Samsung does achieve commercial mass-production of 14 nm FinFETs, one interested party will surely be Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM) whose SnapDragon 4 system-on-a-chip (SoC) design Samsung recently began producing at its monolithic Texas chipmaking facilities.

Source: Samsung [press release]

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Not impressed with Samsung
By MartyLK on 12/21/2012 1:30:54 PM , Rating: 0
I'm not impressed with Samsung's mobile CPUs. I've had phones with Qualcomm ARM-7 CPUs and didn't know much about their performance till I bought a Samsung Nexus S phone, which is equipped with a Samsung Hummingbird ARM-7 CPU.

Both CPUs having the same speed, the Samsung version has been less capable performance-wise than the Qualcomm version. I notice speed problems, sluggishness and an overall feeling of weakness compared to the Qualcomm versions in my other phones.

When I bought my AT&T-branded Galaxy S3, I was a little disappointed it couldn't have the Samsung Exynos quad-core because of incompatibility with LTE networks. The AT&T GS3 comes with a dual-core Qualcomm. Now, however, I'm glad it has the Qualcomm. I believe Qualcomm has better technology than Samsung's.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By menting on 12/21/2012 1:36:04 PM , Rating: 5
you can't really compare CPUs unless you run the same software, or run a benchmark that only looks at pure CPU performance.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By Mitch101 on 12/21/2012 1:54:50 PM , Rating: 3
Would be a good opportunity for AMD to look at getting their next gen chip manufactured through Samsung instead of TSMC/GF. Jumping a die shrink on Intel might get them an advantage since the next revision of BD is supposed to fix the IPC issues.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By menting on 12/21/2012 2:27:28 PM , Rating: 2
they have a long term contract with Global Foundries. I would also think they're much more likely to go with TSMC than Samsung.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By MartyLK on 12/21/2012 2:07:57 PM , Rating: 2
you can't really compare CPUs unless you run the same software

That's the thing, both phones, the phones with the Qualcomm and the Nexus S, run the same software. They are all rooted and run the same versions of Android. The total-stock version of Android 4.1.1 is the best performing Android Jelly Bean for the NS. The very same version of Android Jelly Bean for the Qualcomm phones runs and works better.

Going to a custom ROM for the NS makes things rough and sluggish. And the same type custom ROM for the Qualcomm phones shows no degradation of perceivable performance.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By Kurz on 12/21/2012 3:12:39 PM , Rating: 3
Umm... there is a huge difference in hardware, drivers, and what not.

You need to use a Specific CPU stress test and get the values from each.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By MartyLK on 12/21/12, Rating: -1
RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By Kurz on 12/22/2012 9:59:32 AM , Rating: 2
You are evaluating the entire package then, not just the CPU.
There are dozens of components in these phones, Camera, Wifi, GPU, Ram, etc...

Each of these has their own set of drivers.
For all we know that there is a particular component that is holding back the rest of the device because of some bad coding/bad design.

CPU stress testing takes out most of those other factors to give you just the CPU performance. You can't base your assumption just on the CPU performance alone when you are talking about overall performance.

Hell you can have the same CPU perform poorly in one phone and amazing in another phone.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By MartyLK on 12/22/12, Rating: 0
RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By thesavvymage on 12/23/2012 4:38:54 PM , Rating: 1
holy crap how thick are you? He's saying its probably something else, not the processor, but youre saying that since theyre a different processor that instantly makes the qualcomm superior. If you take a 400hp engine and a 100hp engine but give the 400 such a shitty suspension that it cant turn quick and is thus beaten by the 100hp engine, does that mean the 100 is a better faster engine? No, it means the car was tuned better and the rest of the parts work well together.

What you REALLY want to say, is you are unimpressed with the NS. Not the samsung chip inside. Your logic is totally flawed

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By MartyLK on 12/23/12, Rating: -1
RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By MartyLK on 12/23/2012 5:03:01 PM , Rating: 2
You're trying to say that it's okay if a Samsung product underperforms because of other non-optimized components. It's still all Samsung. You're trying to excuse Samsung any way you can.

A person would think that an all-Samsung product could perform better than a non-Samsung product of the same speed.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By ShieTar on 12/24/2012 5:59:32 AM , Rating: 2
Not if you keep insisting on comparing a single-core samsung to a dual-core qualcomm device, like you do with the Nexus S and the Galaxy S3.

If you compare the Samsung-powered S3 with the Qualcomm alternative, samsung wins most races, unless you specifically use only a single thread:

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By Tony Swash on 12/21/2012 4:57:03 PM , Rating: 1
Especially if it involves more of this.....

Apparently they weren't holding it right

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By momorere on 12/22/2012 12:37:52 PM , Rating: 2
Don't you mean this ? If you're going to continue to be bias, at least try not to look as stupid.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By bug77 on 12/21/2012 3:59:21 PM , Rating: 1
When I bought my AT&T-branded Galaxy S3, I was a little disappointed it couldn't have the Samsung Exynos quad-core because of incompatibility with LTE networks. The AT&T GS3 comes with a dual-core Qualcomm

I don't suppose you're aware one is Cortex-A9 and the other is Cortex-A15.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By SmackJack on 12/21/2012 4:36:42 PM , Rating: 2
The Snapdragon S4 is not a Cortex A-15 implementation, but a custom SoC design borrowing many elements from the A-15 architecture, and made compatible with ARMv7 instruction set, akin to Apple's Ax series.

On the other hand, the Exynos series are pure Cortex/Mali architecture implementations (with the exception of Exynos 3 Single as it used a PowerVR GPU instead), with the Exynos 4 Dual and Quad being Cortex-A9 processors with Mali T-400MP4 GPUs and Exynos 5 Dual (in the Nexus 10) being a dual core Cortex-A15 processor with a Mali T-604MP4 GPU. The Exynos 5 Quad (rumoured to début in the Galaxy S4) will be having quad A15s coupled with quad A7s in the big.LITTLE architectural configuration and will have the Mali T-658MP4 as the GPU.

The 28nm Exynos 5 Quad will be a true performance beast (with really low power consumption thanks to the big.LITTLE implementation) and will be the benchmark against which all mobile SoCs will be pitted against.

Samsung's pure Cortex/Mali implementations and their performance have been nothing short of stellar as compared to similar class devices. And Samsung skipping a couple of generations to produce a 14nm die demonstrates the progress they're making in the semiconductor industry.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By Jeffk464 on 12/21/2012 7:01:25 PM , Rating: 2
Yup an A15 on 14nm should be a pretty impressive performer. I think they will be powerful enough for laptop/desktop use.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By Jeffk464 on 12/21/2012 7:05:38 PM , Rating: 2
I think a mini pc android device based on A15 might actually be good enough to replace my secondary HTPC's. They should handle web browsing and streaming HD content with ease.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By SAnderson on 12/24/2012 12:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
A new process tech doesn't make the same chip more powerful, only more power efficient.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By bug77 on 12/22/2012 12:27:41 PM , Rating: 2
I was too lazy to type all that, but in short I was just trying to make the OP realize he's comparing apples and oranges.

RE: Not impressed with Samsung
By chick0n on 12/23/2012 11:47:32 AM , Rating: 1
you are such an idiot

you don't even know what you are talking about

come back when you do.

but before then, how about just stfu ?

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

Latest Headlines
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
The Samsung Galaxy S7
September 14, 2016, 6:00 AM
Apple Watch 2 – Coming September 7th
September 3, 2016, 6:30 AM
Apple says “See you on the 7th.”
September 1, 2016, 6:30 AM

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki