Samsung to fab 10nm FinFET SoCs for next year's exploding phones


Pocket explosives maker Samsung claims it has started the "mass production" of the world's first 10nm FinFET system-on-chips.

These SoCs are expected to be next-generation Samsung-designed Exynos chips, and possibly Qualcomm Snapdragons, which are at the heart of today's ARM-powered Android handhelds.

The South Korean giant, which just had to recall 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after some of their batteries started detonating, says shrinking the transistor size from 14nm to 10nm will reduce die areas, and increase performance or lower power consumption. Just like the step down from 20nm to 14nm in 2014.

According to the chaebol, whose Galaxy Note 7 is so dangerous it's now a US federal offense to get on an aircraft with one, the first wave of its 10nm SoCs will be 10LPE devices, followed by 10LPP parts in the second half of 2017. LPE means the chips are fabricated with power-performance efficiency in mind, while LPP means the components is tuned for increased performance. Samsung-manufactured 10LPE SoCs are due to appear in handsets in early 2017.

From today's announcement from the union-busting maker of self-destructing washing machines and microwave ovens:

Samsung’s new 10nm FinFET process (10LPE) adopts an advanced 3D transistor structure with additional enhancements in both process technology and design enablement compared to its 14nm predecessor, allowing up to 30-percent increase in area efficiency with 27-percent higher performance or 40-percent lower power consumption. In order to overcome scaling limitations, cutting edge techniques such as triple-patterning to allow bi-directional routing are also used to retain design and routing flexibility from prior nodes.

Meanwhile, Intel and TSMC are expected to start churning out volume-levels of 10nm FinFET chips around the start of 2017. Intel's 10nm Cannonlake x86 processors are due to arrive next year as are 10nm ARM-compatible CPUs fabricated by the x86 giant.

In other words, everyone is working on manufacturing 10nm chips for early 2017, Samsung just couldn't resist blowing up our inboxes with another bombastic announcement. Just be thankful Sammy's semiconductors have a better rep than their consumer product cousins. ®

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