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Rumor: Samsung lands orders to trial 14nm Apple 'A9' chips at New York fab

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Samsung Electronics and Globalfoundries are reportedly planning to begin building 14-nanometer mobile chips in small quantities at a New York-based facility in early 2015, which could set the stage for the team to begin building "A9" chips for Apple, according to a new report.

A7
Apple's latest A7 SoC. | Source: Chipworks


The details come from Taiwanese tech industry publication DigiTimes, which has a questionable track record reporting on future Apple products, but does on occasion accurately share supply chain data. In its latest report on Tuesday, the publication said Samsung and Globalfoundries will begin rolling out 14-nanometer chips from Samsung's Fab 8 in New York with a capacity of 60,000 wafers a month, using a so-called "low power early" process.

If true, the location would be a change, as Samsung currently builds custom processors for Apple at its Austin, Tex., fab plant.

After trial production later this year, the Samsung and Globalfoundries are expected to begin producing 14-nanometer chips in small quantities in early 2015. That's reportedly in hopes of landing deals with two major partners: Apple and Qualcomm.

Regarding Apple, DigiTimes claims that the company's anticipated "A9" processor could be based on a 14-nanometer process, if Samsung and Globalfoundries win the final contract. But that's not a sure thing, as both Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company are also said to be in the running.

Samsung
Samsung's Austin, Texas semiconductor plant


No details on a potential Intel deal were given, but TSMC is reportedly aiming to win orders for Apple's "A9" with its own 16-nanometer FinFET Turbo chipmaking process, said to be tailored to Apple's requirements.

If Apple were to stick to its usual annual chip updates, an "A9" processor would debut in late 2015 in the company's latest iPhone and iPad models. The current lineup, introduced in late 2013, runs on A7 processors, and an "A8" chip is expected to debut in new iPhones and iPads this fall.

Samsung was first connected to Apple's anticipated "A9" chips a year ago in a supply chain rumor. That report also suggested that Samsung would use its 14-nanometer process to build the processors.
post #2 of 35
It's not "Samsung's Fab 8". It's Globalfoundries Fab 8. http://www.globalfoundries.com/manufacturing/fab-8-overview
post #3 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by call-151 View Post

It's not "Samsung's Fab 8". It's Globalfoundries Fab 8.
http://www.globalfoundries.com/manufacturing/fab-8-overview

There are so many errors - grammatical and factual - in AppleInsider articles these days. Can't they have an editor review this stuff?
post #4 of 35
Bad Apple. Bad Apple!

Seriously, Intel has the fabbing plants just sitting around. Hammer them into the ground on price and take away more business from Samsung.
post #5 of 35
Is it just me, or do you also think Apple is risking a lot by having Sam-dung fab their chips? I mean, they have all the Apple technology right in front of them! They don't have to steal it; Apple's giving it to them!
post #6 of 35
Please please please can we (I'm not a shareholder but 'we' by group affiliation) get off Samsung as a major supplier? It's like we're letting them keep the knife in our back but just not dig it in.
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post #7 of 35
Given that there have been rumours about up-state NY for months, could it be Global is the manufacturing partner behind Project Azalea after all?

http://www.siliconrepublic.com/business/item/34804-apple-planning-to-make-ipho
post #8 of 35

14nm - nice! The current A7 is 28nm.

post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by alcstarheel View Post

Please please please can we (I'm not a shareholder but 'we' by group affiliation) get off Samsung as a major supplier? It's like we're letting them keep the knife in our back but just not dig it in.

I am a shareholder and I approve this message. 1wink.gif
post #10 of 35

As a long time shareholder, I also approve this message.  Drop them as fast as possible.  

post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttollerton View Post


There are so many errors - grammatical and factual - in AppleInsider articles these days. Can't they have an editor review this stuff?

 

Probably can't afford them. Editors would cost money. This website runs on Ads and we all know 99% of people on here block them with AdBlock.

post #12 of 35
Everyone needs to settle down here...

You're beginning to sound like the doomsayers proclaiming the death of Apple when they switched over from the Motorola PowerPC to Intel chips.

We all need to remember that the "Magic" is in the software and design of Apple's products - Not in how the grains of sand are arranged on the chip.1cool.gif
post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by webweasel View Post

Given that there have been rumours about up-state NY for months, could it be Global is the manufacturing partner behind Project Azalea after all?

http://www.siliconrepublic.com/business/item/34804-apple-planning-to-make-ipho

Yup. And a partnership between IBM, SUNY CNSE and GlobalFoundries is hoping to deepen the relationship.

post #14 of 35

I thought the move to X-ray lithography and grazing incidence optics was incredible but... the technology just keep pushing the boundaries - lovely!

Where are we on the curve? We'll know once it goes asymptotic!
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Where are we on the curve? We'll know once it goes asymptotic!
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post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

14nm - nice! The current A7 is 28nm.

Yes, I too am impressed by teh 1337 nanohertzes.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #16 of 35
Thank you, Moore's Law!

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeGee48 View Post

Is it just me, or do you also think Apple is risking a lot by having Sam-dung fab their chips? I mean, they have all the Apple technology right in front of them! They don't have to steal it; Apple's giving it to them!

It's just you.

 

The NDAs around these were iron clad, and even more so now after the lawsuit(s).   

 

(edit: TL;DR and skip to Dark Lite's post if you want a less wordy response;-)

 

The division itself doesn't look at the 'logic' embedded in the chip, or even cares... they are all about the how to make things small, with few and identifiable defects, and at a price that they can make a profit, yet not drive the customer away.    Samsung Electronics is about making chips.   Now they may look at how Apple has arranged the transistors, the gross capabilities, etc.  and say 'wow, we can do that on a chip we design,' but they would be risking direct IP infringement if they lifted it and placed it into a chip, but without the firmware, and the OS, they still couldn't make a phone or tablet any better than they do now.    And the Division Chair, in a company that rewards return on investment, doesn't want to risk pissing off one of their most lucrative customers violating the NDA.

 

Now if Intel were to go to Samsung and say, "We have an idea for 9nm chip layouts on, but we'd like you to do the trial testing"  That would be risky.   Or if Apple asked Samsung to do trial assemblies of their iPad Air Pro, complete with OS burn in and QA testing.

 

For Apple, it's riskier (time and delivery wise) to go with a company that has no track record at deploying new lithographical technologies.  If the rumors were true that TMSC wasn't able to get yields up on the A7, why would you push their skill set for the A9, that is likely at the critical "Can we stuff this much into a chip?" stage, and if they can't, we'd lose something like the next 'wow' capability, like 64bit, or Secure Enclave, amazing GPU technologies, quad cores, or the whatnot.   

 

So at this point, it's riskier to not go with a proven leader in the technology, which leaves pretty much Samsung and Intel (and maybe Toshiba or IBM or Hynix, but they aren't set up for scaling).

 

As it stands, using GlobalFoundaries and Samsung, isolates a bit of the risk as well, keeping the design out of the Samsung standard design pipeline, and lowering the 'need to know' to a smaller factory footprint.


Edited by TheOtherGeoff - 7/1/14 at 8:59am
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeGee48 View Post

Is it just me, or do you also think Apple is risking a lot by having Sam-dung fab their chips? I mean, they have all the Apple technology right in front of them! They don't have to steal it; Apple's giving it to them!

Actually, Samsung seem to have a pretty good separation between the manufacturing arm and their other divisions. As far as I'm aware, the Galaxy S5 'default' model uses a Snapdragon CPU instead of their in-house Exynos chip because the hardware division wouldn't sell it to the phone division cheaply enough. Which seems like a remarkably stupid decision, but if they're that serious about keeping the two halves of the business apart it's a pretty safe bet they won't be passing iPhone secrets around.

 

It's also taken them ages to catch up on things like display quality or processor power (and in some cases they're still catching up) - I'd expect this to be quicker if they were working off insider information.

 

Oh, and one other thing: if they did steal tech like this, Apple would have caught on by now. Samsung would lose almost all of their third-party business if it became known that they were stealing fab designs, and investors would consequently abandon them too. It's just not worth it from their perspective.

 

edit: Also, everything in TheOtherGeoff's post above.

post #19 of 35
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Originally Posted by RalphMouth View Post
 

 

Probably can't afford them. Editors would cost money. This website runs on Ads and we all know 99% of people on here block them with AdBlock.

Well, The pay Daniel Eran Dilger in audience eyeballs so he doesn't have to post to RoughlyDrafted anymore;-)

 

Ads? there are ads on AI? (btw, you may also want to run Ghostery... to avoid the selling of your reading habits via trackers as well;-)

post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Thank you, Moore's Law!

It's gotta stop soon...  1nm is really the limit (that's 2 Si crystalline units), and it's projected that will be hit in 14 years.  The other side of this is the transistor size.   Right now the practical limit is 4nm in size (that's 7 atoms).

 

So we have about 13 years of Moore's Law and it will be slowing down (less doubling and more like 1.4x) 

 

Then we have to shift to a totally new process, either using graphene instead of Si, and/or Phosphorus as the transistor, and moving to Quantum Effect Transistors (same size but 10x faster and 90% less power, because the electrons don't move (resistive heating), they just disappear/reappear on the other side of the gate [Schrodinger's Cat will be roaming the circuits].

 

I'll be retired, and telling kids to stay off my lawn by then;-)

post #21 of 35
Apparently Intel are to commercialise 5nm carbon nanotube transistors by 2020: http://gizmodo.com/carbon-nanotube-transistors-thatll-save-moores-law-are-1598486315
post #22 of 35
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

Then we have to shift to a totally new process, either using grapheme instead of Si...

 

We have 14 years to shift to graphene?

 

Bet it’ll be done in 7. Graphene (and its variations) is the wonder product for which we’ve been waiting.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post
 

So we have about 13 years of Moore's Law and it will be slowing down (less doubling and more like 1.4x) 

 

I can't remember the last time I actually saw a computer bog down. Maybe churning out video takes the most time, but otherwise computers are plenty fast enough for most people and those who need the speed can parallel process. That is one reason PC sales are stagnant, people can keep their computers up to 10 years if they wanted to. 

 

I do wish they could make the Internet faster though. I think we should have affordable gigabit speed by now. Perhaps faster chips could help with that. I'm not sure what the hold up is. I think some of these cable companies need to upgrade their DNS servers. The latency is annoying. You can do a SpeedTest.net and you get great throughput but just clicking links the delay is noticeable. Plus don't get me started on video buffering. I am convinced they do that on purpose.

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post #24 of 35
Samsung isn't building crap, at Malta. That's Global Foundries. Sure, these are the first stages in their cross licensing and manufacturing agreement to use the same process [combined IP between them both], but it's Global Foundries Malta Fab 8 plant, in NY.

Get it right.
post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Thank you, Moore's Law!

And Apple $$, which appear to be helping Samsung narrow the gap with Intel. It typically takes Intel about 18 to 24 months to move from one process to the next (for example, the first 22nm processor from Intel was put on sale in April 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/22_nanometer and 14nm processors have yet to be sold, making this an unusually long time between processes for Intel). Meanwhile, Apple/Samsung took just 12 months to make the transitions between 45 nm and 32 nm, 32 nm and 28 nm, and apparently now between 28 nm and 20 nm and perhaps next year between 20 nm and 14 nm. 

 

There are a couple of caveats here. First, there's some controversy as to whether all nm are created equal -- Intel argues that what Samsung et al call 20 nm isn't as good as what Intel calls 22nm. But it is indisputably the case that Samsung, backed by Apple $$, is moving through manufacturing process generations faster than Intel is, thereby narrowing the lead Intel has historically had in manufacturing process technology. 

 

The second caveat on this is that it's easier to follow than to lead. If and when Apple and friends (Samsung, GloFo, and TSMC) actually do catch up to Intel, that doesn't mean that the next step will be to surpass Intel. Pushing the frontiers of physics isn't easy -- matching Intel is hard, beating them would be really, really hard (maybe impossible). 

 

But stil... Apple and friends are making progress in closing Intel's biggest advantage. Combine that with having already closed Intel's advantage in terms of designing processors along with Apple's advantage in controlling the whole stack, and things look good for Apple. 

post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by alcstarheel View Post

Please please please can we (I'm not a shareholder but 'we' by group affiliation) get off Samsung as a major supplier? It's like we're letting them keep the knife in our back but just not dig it in.

I'm a shareholder and I prefer that Apple does what makes shareholder's the most money over the long term.  I don't think Apple likes Samdung anymore than any of us.  Obviously, Samdung must be the best solution for high quality low costs parts. 

More to the point, Samdung copied UI and design features from Apple, both of which can be obtained by simply buying an Apple device.  So switching suppliers for semiconductor fab doesn't help prevent copying at all. In fact, it makes it worse, because Apple loses its leverage.  The best solution for Apple is to keep Samdung as a supplier.  Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies even closer. 

post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

I can't remember the last time I actually saw a computer bog down. Maybe churning out video takes the most time, but otherwise computers are plenty fast enough for most people and those who need the speed can parallel process. That is one reason PC sales are stagnant, people can keep their computers up to 10 years if they wanted to. 

 

I do wish they could make the Internet faster though. I think we should have affordable gigabit speed by now. Perhaps faster chips could help with that. I'm not sure what the hold up is. I think some of these cable companies need to upgrade their DNS servers. The latency is annoying. You can do a SpeedTest.net and you get great throughput but just clicking links the delay is noticeable. Plus don't get me started on video buffering. I am convinced they do that on purpose.

Agreed. Internet is lagging.  The problem is the structure of the industry and pricing.  Internet is like a utility because it has to be wired to your house, which means competition is low. Secondly, it is very difficult for customers to know what they are actually getting.  The industry sells "up to X speed," which mean they can deliver literally any speed and technically meet their end of the deal.  There are practical reasons why this system exists and is allowed.  However, ISPs are bastards and abuse it.  More importantly, ISPs only upgrade their networking gear when their hand is forced.  In short, the system is fucked up and nobody knows how to fix it.

post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post
 

14nm - nice! The current A7 is 28nm.

After stripping the marketing bla-bla Samsung's "14nm" process is 20nm FinFET, as is TSMC's "16nm" process.

 

GloFo dropped the further developement of their own 20nm FinFET process in favour of Samung's. So Samsung could become Apple's contractor and outsource part of the production to GloFo if needed assuring continuousness of production.

post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by smalM View Post
 

After stripping the marketing bla-bla Samsung's "14nm" process is 20nm FinFET, as is TSMC's "16nm" process.

 

GloFo dropped the further developement of their own 20nm FinFET process in favour of Samung's. So Samsung could become Apple's contractor and outsource part of the production to GloFo if needed assuring continuousness of production.

 

No it's not. 20nm LPM is not 14nm FinFET.

post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Thank you, Moore's Law!

 

Moore just stated the obvious, but times have changed.

 

Thanks to graphene, graphyne and stanene, electrical conductivity can be 'absolute' at room temperatures (superconductivity). Plus, we also have advancements in quantum computing, which can easily pulverise silicon miroprocessors, and then pulverise it again just for fun.

 

So no, it has nothing to do with Moore, but everything to do with the brilliant engineers and physicists, who work their asses off to create truly amazing technology.

post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by webweasel View Post

Given that there have been rumours about up-state NY for months, could it be Global is the manufacturing partner behind Project Azalea after all?

http://www.siliconrepublic.com/business/item/34804-apple-planning-to-make-ipho

 

Nope. All states previously vying for the project have pulled out and have ended negotiations for Azalea as the project is seen as something short of fraud.

post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by IQatEdo View Post

I thought the move to X-ray lithography and grazing incidence optics was incredible but... the technology just keep pushing the boundaries - lovely!

I remember back when 1000 nm was considered a boundary that may never be crossed. Now we are at 1.4% of that and making home electronics with the technology. I boggles my mind...I, who grew up on vacuum tube tech.

If we had somehow got our hands on some of today's technology back in the '50s, I'm sure no one would have guessed it was only from 6 decades in the future.
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #33 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttollerton View Post

There are so many errors - grammatical and factual - in AppleInsider articles these days. Can't they have an editor review this stuff?

This is a rumor site, they have no skills in fact checking because it is not required for the content they publish.
post #34 of 35
The Samsung haters need to get a life. They provide resources for Apple. Samsung isn't the only company that makes a touchscreen phone, but no one complains about those other companies. It is a phone, get over it. It is no different than all the car manufacturers making cars with commonly known elements.
post #35 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

This is a rumor site, they have no skills in fact checking because it is not required for the content they publish.

Yeah, so I get that it's a rumor site. I've been on here for over 10 years. But, maybe the stuff we know to be fact can be reported correctly.
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