Samsung’s new 10nm process promises big power efficiency improvements

Samsung logoThe news hasn't been great for Samsung's smartphone division lately, but there is good news for the chipmaking arm of the company: Samsung announced today that it has started to mass-produce chips on its new 10nm LPE manufacturing process, a major improvement over its current 14nm process.

According to Samsung, 10nm chips can fit 30 percent more transistors within the same physical area as a 14nm chip. Chip designers will be able to create chips that are up to 27 percent faster or chips that use up to 40 percent less power, though most chips will probably do a little of both instead of maximizing one or the other.

A second-generation, 10nm LPP process will begin mass production in the second half of 2017, roughly one year from today. Other than the timing, we only know that this revision is intended to boost performance.

Samsung's own Exynos chips are often the first to benefit from the company's manufacturing process improvements, but plenty of other chipmakers use Samsung's factories to make their chips. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 and 821 are both made on Samsung's 14nm process, and in the past Apple has used Samsung to make multiple generations of its A-series chips (more recently, some of that business has gone to TSMC).

Samsung’s new 10nm process promises big power efficiency improvements

It's difficult to directly compare manufacturing processes between companies, but Intel has been struggling with its own 10nm process just as it struggled with its 14nm process a couple of years ago. The delays have effectively broken its "tick-tock" model, though this year's "Kaby Lake" chips use a tweaked version of the 14nm process that Intel calls 14nm+.

Samsung's 10nm chips will begin to hit devices early next year, possibly beginning with the spring's Android flagships.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: 10 nm, Samsung, technologies

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