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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]

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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.

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