14nm for Exynos 6, new Line 17 for mobile AP

Samsung plans to produce 14nm AP’s from its Line 17 S3 plant located in Hwasung, near the Samsung city Suwon south of Seoul.

The English articles linked below are nearly worthless, but better than none. Sammobile’s use of verbs like “claims” and “suggested” are not correct translations, but what Abhijeet M. calls “poorly translated Korean” was probably not about human translation, but Google’s. The Digital Daily report is as official and authentic as any press release can be. Plans can always fail even for Intel and NASA. Samsung previously planned to move from 28nm to 20nm. That was discarded and now it wants to go from 28nm to 14nm 3D FinFET process. Samsung’s mobile AP marketshare is currently 4th after Qualcomm, Apple, and MediaTek of Taiwan. Apple’s AP is of course used in Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Though Samsung’s marketshare for tablet AP is second only Apple according to the latest Strategy Analytics announcement. The combined quarterly sales of smartphone and tablet AP’s worldwide is a little over US$5 billion. Qualcomm and Apple do not make processors, so it’s also competition between Samsung and TSMC of Taiwan. TSMC is also investing to switch to 16nm manufacutring. Samsung plans to use the first 14nm Exynos 6 inside Galaxy S5, but which phone will actually become the first is far less important. Samsung’s annual sales of mobile AP for 2012 was about US$10 billion. Profitability of the division for this year seems to be about 6%.

The first ES (engineering sample) will come out at the end of 2013. The first BS (business sample) will be released in early 2013, and mass production of the chip will soon follow.

Exynos 5 is known to have 8 cores, but Exynos 5410 had only 4 cores running at once. Exynos 5430 will be a little better.

Another plan reported on the web 8 days ago is Exynos 5430 will be the initial AP for Galaxy S5 and will be announced in January 2014. Stasys Bielinis of Unwired View is bold enough to dismiss the idea of transition from 28nm to 14nm. It’s very possible Samsung might not be able to meet the deadlines and it’s yield rates that determine profits, but the blogger probably didn’t read the article at all. Much of the Digital Daily report actually quotes S.LSI Business at Samsung Electronics’ Device Solutions division. I don’t see why an established news site has to write a novel of such depth. What English sources call “rumour” is actually based on real investments that are happening. Line 17 S3 is planned for completion in Q3 2014.





Picture from Digital Daily of South Korea (linked above)

The guy is Dr. Stephen Woo, president of the S.LSI Business at Samsung Electronics’ Device Solutions division who delivered the keynote address at the 2013 International CES at Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas.

Picture from Hankyung.com (The Korea Economic Daily)

He’s Lee Gunhee, the son of Lee Byungchul and father of the next president of Samsung Electronics. Samsung’s pouring over US$12 billion into that line alone, the largest in the world yet. Its contruction was on hold since October last year, but resumed upon his order, possibly after talks with the current president Park Gunhye. Lee Gunhee ordered the contruction to continue in early April this year. The president complained something about Samsung not investing enough. Original plan was to complete by the end of 2013 for 20nm and 14nm production. Due to the recent decision by Apple to diversify AP suppliers (notably from Samsung to Samsung + TSMC), Samsung put the construction on hold last year. Samsung converted its Austin (Texas, US) DRAM production lines to produce Apple’s AP not so long ago and the Line 17 S3 was dedicated to mobile AP. Line 15 and Line 16 are located next to the 560,000 sq. meter site allocated for Line 17.

TSMC Shows Path to 16nm, Beyond

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is making steady progress on its next two nodes, bringing advances in performance and low power. The bad news is it’s widely expected the latest nodes add less transistor density and more cost than in the past.

TSMC has taped out several 20nm chips and expects to let customers start designing 16nm FinFET chips before the end of the year. By the end of 2014 it expects it will have taped out 25 20nm designs and be far along in work on 30 16nm chips.

TSMC Releases 16nm FinFET Design Flows

Synopsys, Inc., a global leader providing software, IP and services used to accelerate innovation in chips and electronic systems, today announced that it has collaborated with TSMC to provide support for voltage-dependent design rules in TSMC’s 16-nm Custom Design Reference Flow. As part of TSMC’s custom design infrastructure, TSMC has also certified Synopsys’ Laker custom design solution and circuit simulation tools that deliver new capabilities for TSMC V0.5 16-nm FinFET process layout design rules, device models, and electromigration and IR-drop (EM/IR) analysis. TSMC and Synopsys will continue to collaborate on certification of the Synopsys tool set until 16 nm FinFET reaches V1.0.

“TSMC works with Synopsys to ensure our customers have access to analog and mixed-signal design tools for TSMC’s 16-nanometer FinFET process,” said Suk Lee, senior director of design infrastructure marketing at TSMC. “The Custom Design Reference Flow is another milestone of the long term collaboration between the two companies.”

“Synopsys continues to build on our strengths in custom design,” said Bijan Kiani, vice president of product marketing at Synopsys. “Designers rely on us to provide circuit simulation and RC extraction, and are increasingly looking to us as their complete custom design solution provider, particularly with the move to 16-nanometer process technologies.”

MediaTek 8-core


Cage Chao, Taipei; Steve Shen, DIGITIMES [Monday 21 October 2013]

MediaTek is expected to officially launch its first 8-core processor, the MT6592, in the second half of November, according to industry sources familiar with MediaTek’s roadmap.