Rumor: Apple to shrink A-series chips to 14nm in 2015, TSMC to lead production

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,585member
    st88 wrote: »
    The iPhone 5S @ 1136 x 640 scores 2088 frames and the NVIDIA Shield @ 1280 x 720 scores 2149 frames in GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex HD.

    Mobile Kepler (coming 2014) can be licensed to any manufacturer, and it already has a few advantages over PowerVR 6 series.  An early tablet version was shown running games such as Battlefield 3.  Mobile Maxwell will follow in 2015.

    You should go to Anandtech and look at the testing he does there.
  • Reply 22 of 38
    st88st88 Posts: 124member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post





    You should go to Anandtech and look at the testing he does there.

    He uses GFXBench 2.7 and 3DMark Ice Storm in his testing.  

     

    The numbers I've used are the most recent and come directly from the GFXBench and Futuremark websites.

     

    Even based off of his outdated numbers that tested a single device:

     

    NVIDIA Shield (reviewed in July) @ 1280 x 720 - 38 fps

    iPhone 5S (reviewed in September) @ 1136 x 640 - 37 fps

     

    GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex HD (Onscreen):

     

    GLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD

    GLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD (Onscreen) 

     

    -

     

    Futuremark's 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited:



    NVIDIA Shield (Tegra 4) - 16,519

    Apple iPad Air (A7) - 14,913

    Xiaomi MI-3 (Tegra 4) - 14,632

    Apple iPhone 5S (A7) - 14,191

  • Reply 23 of 38
    Wasn't TSMC supposed to be taking on the lions share of A series production this year? Yeah.
    I understand many Apple users want Samsung to go away, but TSMC has a lot to do before they're ready to be the major supplier, and wishful thinking won't magically make it so.
  • Reply 24 of 38
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,787member
    Fret ovet failure "rate"? Sounds like something a statistician would care about. Because most people only care if one MacBook Pro fails: theirs.

    Sorry off topic : I my case, my best buddy 2, me 1. All Nvidia issues. Mine was replaced by Apple under AC I am happy to say. My friend was shit out of luck with two 17" MBPs.
  • Reply 25 of 38
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 717member

    Apple must be hiding some new innovation or something. I can't figure out why they aren't working with Intel to make their chips. They need top quality at obscene volume and it'd be assuring to have the 800 lb gorilla in your corner. So I wonder....does TSMC have something cool cooking in their fabs?

     

    Also, I love those pics of the wafers with the zillions of colors and transistors. Why aren't these things square? Seems like a lot of waste at the edges.....

  • Reply 26 of 38
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    st88 wrote: »
    The iPhone 5S @ 1136 x 640 scores 2088 frames and the NVIDIA Shield @ 1280 x 720 scores 2149 frames in GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex HD.

    Mobile Kepler (coming 2014) can be licensed to any manufacturer, and it already has a few advantages over PowerVR 6 series.  An early tablet version was shown running games such as Battlefield 3.  Mobile Maxwell will follow in 2015.
    Those numbers are so close they could be flipped just by altering the RAM speed or bumping the GPU clock. Beyond that, this is mobile, without thermal numbers the numbers don't mena much.
  • Reply 27 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post

     

    Apple must be hiding some new innovation or something. I can't figure out why they aren't working with Intel to make their chips. They need top quality at obscene volume and it'd be assuring to have the 800 lb gorilla in your corner. So I wonder....does TSMC have something cool cooking in their fabs?

     

    Also, I love those pics of the wafers with the zillions of colors and transistors. Why aren't these things square? Seems like a lot of waste at the edges.....


     

    IF they were hiding something they would keep it from samsung, but even they have 30-40% of this chip spend.  

     

    And you do realize that TSMC is the 800 lb gorilla when it comes to contract chip foundries, and Samsung is quickly catching up.  Intel is only about a 200lb gorilla in the ‘contract’ chip fab business (‘foundry model’)  

     

    Playing the devils advocate….

     

    Intel wasn’t even in the contract Fab until this fall… so to answer your question… Apple wasn’t asking, because Intel didn’t even have a product.

     

    And if Apple was asking, Intel may not be giving as good a price.   These seductions take a while, and Intel doesn’t like to play from a position of weakness, which, is where Apple is used to keeping it’s supply chain vendors.   

     

    A couple more bad years of x86 sales, coupled excess capacity in the fabs, and the story might be different.  Remember… on an intel designed chip, intel gets to charge the IP (publisher’s) premium.   On a contract chip… They effectively get to charge only a few percent over their (printer’s) cost to make the chip.   This is new business for Intel, and one that is margin poor compared to their x86 line.   

     

    I doubt Intel’s pricing model (or commitment) is yet trustworthy.  Really, do you think Intel would really commit (block from x86 production) 10-25% of their 14nm capacity at, say, 20% margin [sell a $10 for $12 for 50 million chips] , vs  a corporate 1000% margin [selling a $10 chip for  $12 to Intel’s division who then sells it for $100] on the same capacity to expand their x86.

     

     

    as for wafer roundness… google Czochralski Growth Method. 

  • Reply 28 of 38
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    cash907 wrote: »
    Wasn't TSMC supposed to be taking on the lions share of A series production this year? Yeah.
    I understand many Apple users want Samsung to go away, but TSMC has a lot to do before they're ready to be the major supplier, and wishful thinking won't magically make it so.

    I highly doubt that Apple wants to rely upon one foundry any more. Such a situation made sense when just getting started with DIY SoC's but Apple is in a different league now. They literally have volumes that go beyond what a single factory can handle. Note the rumors that Samsung had to go to Global Foundries to handle excess demand.

    Rumors are rumors of course but Samsung has already had to expand the factory in Texas and Apples need for chips expands almost every day. I could see Apple using a two or three foundry strategy from this point on. Frankly it has nothing to do with Samsung and everything to do with the old saying about having all of ones eggs in one basket.
  • Reply 29 of 38
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    bugsnw wrote: »
    Apple must be hiding some new innovation or something. I can't figure out why they aren't working with Intel to make their chips. They need top quality at obscene volume and it'd be assuring to have the 800 lb gorilla in your corner. So I wonder....does TSMC have something cool cooking in their fabs?
    I've heard rumors that TSMC is indeed doing better with sub 20 micron than might be expected. That doesn't mean much of course.

    Also, I love those pics of the wafers with the zillions of colors and transistors. Why aren't these things square? Seems like a lot of waste at the edges.....
    It is due to the manufacturing process and how the silicon is grown.
  • Reply 30 of 38
    st88st88 Posts: 124member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post





    Those numbers are so close they could be flipped just by altering the RAM speed or bumping the GPU clock. Beyond that, this is mobile, without thermal numbers the numbers don't mena much.

    Yes and no, do keep in mind the Shield is pushing ~21% more pixels  1136x640 =/= 1280x720.  The thermals on the Tegra 4 are without a doubt higher, but that's more due to the four Cortex A15 cores clocked at 1.9GHz. 

     

    The 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited results for the Xiaomi MI-3 (Tegra 4) smartphone are about the same as the iPhone 5S.

     

    Xiaomi MI-3 (Tegra 4) - 14,632

    Apple iPhone 5S (A7) - 14,191

     

    A couple other factors that could have changed results: 

     


    • Neither of the Tegra 4 devices listed above are even running the latest version of Android which is 4.4 (both are running 4.2).  For reference, a Nexus 5 (Snapdragon 800) running 4.4 was able to score 16,260, while its sister device, the LG G2 running 4.2 scored 15,043.  The performance gap between 4.2 and 4.4 is ~7.5%.

     


    • The 3DMark results above are running the 32-bit version of Ice Storm.  The 64-bit version would offer up to 7% improved performance. "Once we had a 64-bit build we tested an iPhone 5s under controlled conditions in our Test Lab. As expected, we found that the results from the 64-bit version were similar to the 32-bit version, with only a 7 percent improvement. That is not enough to change the ranking of the iPhone 5s in our Best Mobile Devices list."  Futuremark. 

       

    The only reason I posted this information was in response to melgross' claim that, "Nvidia ARM graphics performance is terrible".  As I've displayed above, the graphical capabilities of Tegra 4 would not be considered "terrible", in fact, quite the opposite.

  • Reply 31 of 38
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,787member
    <p style="min-height:18px;"> </p>

    IF they were hiding something they would keep it from samsung, but even they have 30-40% of this chip spend.  
    <p style="min-height:18px;"> </p>

    And you do realize that TSMC is the 800 lb gorilla when it comes to contract chip foundries, and Samsung is quickly catching up.  Intel is only about a 200lb gorilla in the ‘contract’ chip fab business (‘foundry model’)  
    <p style="min-height:18px;"> </p>

    Playing the devils advocate….
    <p style="min-height:18px;"> </p>

    Intel wasn’t even in the contract Fab until this fall… so to answer your question… Apple wasn’t asking, because Intel didn’t even have a product.
    <p style="min-height:18px;"> </p>

    And if Apple was asking, Intel may not be giving as good a price.   These seductions take a while, and Intel doesn’t like to play from a position of weakness, which, is where Apple is used to keeping it’s supply chain vendors.   
    <p style="min-height:18px;"> </p>

    A couple more bad years of x86 sales, coupled excess capacity in the fabs, and the story might be different.  Remember… on an intel designed chip, intel gets to charge the IP (publisher’s) premium.   On a contract chip… They effectively get to charge only a few percent over their (printer’s) cost to make the chip.   This is new business for Intel, and one that is margin poor compared to their x86 line.   
    <p style="min-height:18px;"> </p>

    I doubt Intel’s pricing model (or commitment) is yet trustworthy.  Really, do you think Intel would really commit (block from x86 production) 10-25% of their 14nm capacity at, say, 20% margin [sell a $10 for $12 for 50 million chips] , vs  a corporate 1000% margin [selling a $10 chip for  $12 to Intel’s division who then sells it for $100] on the same capacity to expand their x86.
    <p style="min-height:18px;"> </p>

    <p style="min-height:18px;"> </p>

    as for wafer roundness… google Czochralski Growth Method. 

    So Intel wane along with Microcrap.
  • Reply 32 of 38
    st88st88 Posts: 124member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

     

    A couple more bad years of x86 sales


    I'm not necessarily sure Intel is too worried.  Their focus of x86 into the mobile market has been scoring them some very big design wins over ARM with companies such as Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, Sharp, and Toshiba.  Samsung has also been spotted with Bay Trail tablets in testing. 

     

    Just about every manufacturer (excluding Microsoft/Nokia) has abandoned Windows RT.  So just about every Windows 8.1 tablet from here on out will be using Bay Trail, or depending on the size of the tablet, Haswell Y or U series.

     

    Intel has also been scoring some wins from Android, currently Bay Trail is the only 64-bit SoC on the market that can run Android in thin/light tablets.  There will also be a number of low cost Bay Trail tablets that can dual boot Windows 8.1 or Android. 

  • Reply 33 of 38
    smalmsmalm Posts: 677member

    What TSMC and Samsung designate as 14- and 16-nanometer FinFET-based fabrication process is their 20nm process with FinFet.

  • Reply 34 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,585member
    st88 wrote: »
    He uses GFXBench 2.7 and 3DMark Ice Storm in his testing.  

    The numbers I've used are the most recent and come directly from the GFXBench and Futuremark websites.

    Even based off of his outdated numbers that tested a single device:

    NVIDIA Shield (reviewed in July) @ 1280 x 720 - 38 fps

    iPhone 5S (reviewed in September) @ 1136 x 640 - 37 fps

    GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex HD (Onscreen):

    58171.png
    56819.png 

    -

    <span style="color:rgb(24,24,24);line-height:1.4em;">Futuremark's 3DMark Ice Storm </span>
    <span style="color:rgb(24,24,24);line-height:1.4em;">Unlimited:</span>



    NVIDIA Shield (Tegra 4) - 16,519

    Apple iPad Air (A7) - 14,913

    Xiaomi MI-3 (Tegra 4) - 14,632

    Apple iPhone 5S (A7) - 14,191

    Comparing it to the shield proves little. You need a comparable device.
  • Reply 35 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,585member
    st88 wrote: »
    Yes and no, do keep in mind the Shield is pushing ~21% more pixels  1136x640 =/= 1280x720.  The thermals on the Tegra 4 are without a doubt higher, but that's more due to the four Cortex A15 cores clocked at 1.9GHz. 

    The 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited results for the Xiaomi MI-3 (Tegra 4) smartphone are about the same as the iPhone 5S.

    Xiaomi MI-3 (Tegra 4) - 14,632
    Apple iPhone 5S (A7) - 14,191

    A couple other factors that could have changed results: 
    [*] Neither of the Tegra 4 devices listed above are even running the latest version of Android which is 4.4 (both are running 4.2).  <span style="line-height:1.4em;">For reference, a </span>
    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">Nexus 5 (Snapdragon 800)</span>
    <span style="line-height:1.4em;"> running 4.4 was able to score 16,260, while its sister device, the LG G2 running 4.2 scored 15,043.  The performance gap between 4.2 and 4.4 is ~7.5%.</span>


    [*] The 3DMark results above are running the 32-bit version of Ice Storm.  The 64-bit version would offer up to 7% improved performance. [SIZE=12px]"Once we had a 64-bit build we tested an iPhone 5s under controlled conditions in our Test Lab. As expected, we found that the results from the 64-bit version were similar to the 32-bit version, with only a 7 percent improvement. That is not enough to change the ranking of the iPhone 5s in our Best Mobile Devices[/SIZE][SIZE=12px] list."  [/SIZE]Futuremark. 

    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">  </span>
    <span style="line-height:1.4em;"> </span>

    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">The only reason I posted this information was in response to </span>
    <a href="http://forums.appleinsider.com/u/17018/melgross" id="user_poster_1021776" style="line-height:1.4em;vertical-align:middle;" name="user_poster_1021776">melgross</a>
    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">' claim that, "</span>
    Nvidia ARM graphics performance is terrible".  As I've displayed above, the graphical capabilities of Tegra 4 would not be considered "terrible", in fact, quite the opposite.

    It is terrible, and it always has been terrible. Your comparison has little meaning. You NEED a phone to similar sized tablet comparison to have any meaning. The Shield is a very specialized device. Unless that very same chip is running in similar devices to others, it makes for a poor standard to compare to. That should be obvious.
  • Reply 36 of 38
    st88st88 Posts: 124member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post





    It is terrible, and it always has been terrible. Your comparison has little meaning. You NEED a phone to similar sized tablet comparison to have any meaning. The Shield is a very specialized device. Unless that very same chip is running in similar devices to others, it makes for a poor standard to compare to. That should be obvious.

    It helps when you actually read the entire post.  The Xiaomi MI-3 is a smartphone.

     

    Once again:

     

    Futuremark's 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited:



    NVIDIA Shield (Tegra 4) - 16,519

    Apple iPad Air (A7) - 14,913

    Xiaomi MI-3 (Tegra 4) - 14,632


    Apple iPhone 5S (A7) - 14,191

  • Reply 37 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,585member
    st88 wrote: »
    It helps when you actually read the entire post.  The Xiaomi MI-3 is a smartphone.

    Once again:

    Futuremark's 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited:

    NVIDIA Shield (Tegra 4) - 16,519
    Apple iPad Air (A7) - 14,913

    Xiaomi MI-3 (Tegra 4) - 14,632

    Apple iPhone 5S (A7) - 14,191

    Ok, fair enough. But that's just one benchmark. What about all the others?
  • Reply 38 of 38
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by st88 View Post

     

    I'm not necessarily sure Intel is too worried.  Their focus of x86 into the mobile market has been scoring them some very big design wins over ARM with companies such as Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, Sharp, and Toshiba.  Samsung has also been spotted with Bay Trail tablets in testing. 


    I wasn't predicting, just scenario-izing.    I wouldn't be surprised if Intel rebounded really well this year and next.  

     

    But their focus on the mobile market has been there for years,and by most accounts, has been less than amazing in terms of performance envelope in real world implementations.

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