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

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited July 2014
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.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    call-151call-151 Posts: 8member
    It's not "Samsung's Fab 8". It's Globalfoundries Fab 8. http://www.globalfoundries.com/manufacturing/fab-8-overview
  • Reply 2 of 34
    ttollertonttollerton Posts: 164member
    call-151 wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 34
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    deegee48deegee48 Posts: 66member
    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!
  • Reply 5 of 34
    alcstarheelalcstarheel Posts: 554member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 34
    webweaselwebweasel Posts: 87member
    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
  • Reply 7 of 34
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

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

  • Reply 8 of 34
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    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. ;)
  • Reply 9 of 34
    gtbuzzgtbuzz Posts: 129member

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

  • Reply 10 of 34
    ralphmouthralphmouth Posts: 192member
    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.

  • Reply 11 of 34
    calfotocalfoto Posts: 58member
    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.8-)
  • Reply 12 of 34
    call-151call-151 Posts: 8member
    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.

  • Reply 13 of 34
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,588member

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

  • Reply 14 of 34
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,724member
    ascii wrote: »
    14nm - nice! The current A7 is 28nm.

    Yes, I too am impressed by teh 1337 nanohertzes.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,421member
    Thank you, Moore's Law!
  • Reply 16 of 34
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,075member
    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.

  • Reply 17 of 34
    darklitedarklite Posts: 229member
    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.

  • Reply 18 of 34
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,075member
    Quote:

    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;-)

  • Reply 19 of 34
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,075member
    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;-)

  • Reply 20 of 34
    rolyroly Posts: 65member
    Apparently Intel are to commercialise 5nm carbon nanotube transistors by 2020: http://gizmodo.com/carbon-nanotube-transistors-thatll-save-moores-law-are-1598486315
Sign In or Register to comment.