Samsung shows 14nm chip

October 06, 2014 // By Rick Merritt
Samsung showed a working 14nm FinFET device at the ARM Tech Con in Santa Clara (California). However the Korean giant would not provide details of the chip, any of its customers for the process, or the status of the process.

At its booth here, Samsung showed a mobile applications processor decoding high-definition video on a handset and a TV screen. It would not say whether the chip was a next-generation version of the company’s Exynos family.

Samsung showed an unidentified 14nm chip decoding video streams.
Samsung showed an unidentified 14nm chip decoding video streams.

Samsung has multiple customers now using the early version of its 14nm FinFET process, however none has agreed to be named yet. The process is fully qualified and in production, but Samsung declined to comment on its yields or volumes.

The news comes one day after rival TSMC’s annual event here, in which partners gave multiple papers on working with TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process. “We are locked in a huge race” to 16/14nm FinFET production, said Kelvin Low, a foundry marketing manager for Samsung.

TSMC claimed at its event its 16nm FinFET process can drive a 64-bit ARM Cortex A57 core to 2.6 GHz, according to an Intel representative at ARM Tech Con. Samsung declined to provide any specifics on parts made in its 14nm FinFET process.

Samsung’s reticence should not be taken as a sign it is behind, said one source familiar with both companies’ processes. TSMC typically uses ARM cores to test its new processes, but Samsung does not, the source said, noting it’s a close race between the two companies.

In a session here, Samsung and GlobalFoundries reiterated their ongoing partnership, announced in April , on the 14nm process. Both companies aim to have products ramping into volume production next year. They will follow-up with a version of the process, now being qualified, that will be optimized for high performance.

Samsung said it has taped out 30 test chips since it started working on its 14nm process in 2012.
Samsung said it has taped out 30 test chips since it started working on its 14nm process in 2012.


— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times

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