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Apple's 64-bit A7 SoC 'set off panic' for chipmakers - Page 4

post #121 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by THT View Post

Really don't agree with you that Samsung has any schematics or blueprints that give them any information. When Apple is working with Samsung Semi, Apple's SoC designers are figuring out how to fab the chip, to etch the transistors. Samsung Semi simply had no architecture information to glean from this type of work.

If you are playing the espionage angle, then that automatically means Samsung design know anything about the architecture. They are only doing it for "intelligence" purposes and any kind of information gleaned from it automatically means they are a year late. There are also legal risks incumbent in it.

Who manufactures the masks?
post #122 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


Who manufactures the masks?

 

There are both in-house mask shops from the foundries and 3rd part merchant mask shops. (Wikipedia list ~15 merchant shops for 65 nm lithography alone from a 2006 survey.) There's a sub-industry for basically every step in the foundry business, from the silicon ingots, the tooling, to the ceramic packaging. One stop factories where the silicon and semiconductor materials go in and a packaged chip in a box comes out don't really exist anymore. They probably never really existed in the first place.

 

This is basically secret and patented information, Apple is  going to control it, and  control any sample hardware or pilot production hardware. Every single mask will be controlled and tracked. Every single wafer that's etched for Apple will be tracked. No system is perfect, and things do get lost, and people can steal things, but the perspective is totally different from it'll be really easy for Samsung to find out.

 

If it was easy to find out at the foundry, the information would have leaked in 2012 when samples were produced was occurring. There was no rumor for it until August of 2013 (from 9to5mac). A rumor that late meant the "64-bit" rumor was leaked somewhere not in the production chain. It may have been from benchmarking leaks or software leaks. I doubt that 9to5mac rumor leaked from the foundry.

post #123 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by THT View Post

There are both in-house mask shops from the foundries and 3rd part merchant mask shops. (Wikipedia list ~15 merchant shops for 65 nm lithography alone from a 2006 survey.) There's a sub-industry for basically every step in the foundry business, from the silicon ingots, the tooling, to the ceramic packaging. One stop factories where the silicon and semiconductor materials go in and a packaged chip in a box comes out don't really exist anymore. They probably never really existed in the first place.

This is basically secret and patented information, Apple is  going to control it, and  control any sample hardware or pilot production hardware. Every single mask will be controlled and tracked. Every single wafer that's etched for Apple will be tracked. No system is perfect, and things do get lost, and people can steal things, but the perspective is totally different from it'll be really easy for Samsung to find out.

If it was easy to find out at the foundry, the information would have leaked in 2012 when samples were produced was occurring. There was no rumor for it until August of 2013 (from 9to5mac). A rumor that late meant the "64-bit" rumor was leaked somewhere not in the production chain. It may have been from benchmarking leaks or software leaks. I doubt that 9to5mac rumor leaked from the foundry.

OK. How are the finished dies tested to ensure it actually works to spec before they are packaged?
Edited by JeffDM - 12/18/13 at 9:09am
post #124 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


OK. How do they test the finished dies to ensure it actually works to spec?

 

I don't know the process to this level of detail. I barely know this semiconductor stuff as it is. However, I do know how products and information can be controlled and tracked. Odds are pretty damn good that Apple's control and tracking are a lot more stringent than what I've experienced before.

 

I imagine that they cut the chips out of the wafer, package them, power them up, and put it through a series of tests to verify its performance. At the the point of packaging, it may even be out of Samsung's hands, and it's a merchant packaging company doing the work (packaging is the ceramic substrate and soldering points or pins that you often see as a "chip"). After that, they'd be boxed up and sent to Foxconn or whoever is assembling the PCB.

post #125 of 131
Or consider the new patent Apple filed for a laser projector display device %u2013 the experiences that a 64-bit chip affords to Apple spans all of their mini-devices. Not only does Apple skate to where the puck will be, but it's "their" own puck, which in this case seems to be ahead of everyone else's puck to begin with.
post #126 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by c4rlob View Post

Or consider the new patent Apple filed for a laser projector display device %u2013 the experiences that a 64-bit chip affords to Apple spans all of their mini-devices. Not only does Apple skate to where the puck will be, but it's "their" own puck, which in this case seems to be ahead of everyone else's puck to begin with.
Yet another laser-projection implementation of a well-known invention dating back to 1992 (1969 if you count IBM's original idea)
http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/17/google-project-glass-laser-projector-patent/
Edited by Gatorguy - 12/18/13 at 9:36am
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post #127 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post
 

 

Theres this thing called Glasses.  They help with vision.  You may want to research it and come back to us in a week.  While you are at it buy a Nexus7 and report back to us.

Would that be Google Glasses?

;)

post #128 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post
 

 

I would say that after the revelations in the 2010 court case of possible leaks between various divisions of Samsung, that behind the scenes Apple came down hard on Samsung and tightened security significantly.

 

There were probably very few people outside Apple who knew what the chips were capable of.

 

This was while Apple was publicly looking for new chip foundries to supply them with chips.

 

Samsung aren't stupid, Apple is a major customer, they would bend over backwards to keep them.

 

What people don't understand is a chip fab is like an outsource printer. (Really over simplifying here) They really don't look at what they are printing they just output the files the customer gives them and check the registration. In this case the checksums. So there is also a very good chance that Samsung was not even aware that it was 64-bit or at the very least not true 64-bit. With all the different subsystems on the new SOC designs you can't really look at a chip and determine what everything is anymore. 

post #129 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Swinson View Post
 

 

What people don't understand is a chip fab is like an outsource printer. (Really over simplifying here) They really don't look at what they are printing they just output the files the customer gives them and check the registration. In this case the checksums. So there is also a very good chance that Samsung was not even aware that it was 64-bit or at the very least not true 64-bit. With all the different subsystems on the new SOC designs you can't really look at a chip and determine what everything is anymore. 

 

I think most of us don't realize that even if Samsung would have access to all schematics of the A7 from Apple, they still doesn't own the right ARM licences for creating their own core like Apple did.  Also, like you pointed out, you can't by only looking a chips under a microscope determine the ISA and all logical aspect of the chips.

post #130 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by textsms91 View Post
 

The idea being that a 64-bit processor and Operating System is able to make better use of the systems RAM and processor and as such deliver much better performance.
 

There is a lot going with the new AArch64 improvement, a lot of legacy shortcoming of now archaic ARMv7 32bit architecture has been fixed and improved considerably, even a new 32 bit ISA (AArch32) has been added in the A7 to improve 32 bit codes performance. 

post #131 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Apple kicked everybody in the balls with this," the Qualcomm employee said. "It's being downplayed, but it set off panic in the industry."

 

This is the best quote in the history of Apple reporting to come from the mouth of someone other than Steve Jobs.

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