There is quite a debate raging on whether Samsung Foundry is truly in production at 14nm. The word amongst the fabless semiconductor ecosystem is yes and this comes from two very large fabless companies that are reportedly using Samsung for 14nm and have even started looking at Samsung 10nm. Of course you can Google for stories by the foreign press about this and find just about whatever you need to support either side of this argument which is what many people have done. The fact of the matter is that the fabless semiconductor ecosystem is a very close knit industry so there are no secrets.
Really, all you have to do is attend some of the many conferences we have every year and talk to the people who actually do the work. SPIE and ISSCC are both this week. CDNLive is coming up as well as SNUG and User2User which are filled with semiconductor professionals from Silicon Valley and let’s face it Silicon Valley is where most of the fabless semiconductor magic happens, absolutely.
Still there seems to be some confusion about which process the upcoming Apple products will use. Again, the iPhone will have Samsung 14nm based ULP SoCs and the iPad will have TSMC 16FF+ based SoCs which represents about a 70/30 wafer split in favor of the iPhone of course.
Speaking of SoCs, in the SemiWiki SoC Forumthere is a thread about the latest Intel 14nm Cherry Trail SoC benchmarked against the 20nm Apple A8x, the 20nm SnapDragon, and the 14nm Exynos. Not a pretty picture which begs the question: Is it the design or the process? You gotta love open forums for a constant flow of raw information, crowdsourcing at its finest! Just pick a SemiWiki forum of interest and subscribe to it, simple as that.
Another data point about Samsung being in production at 14nm is a mailer I just received. (Yes, I’m on just about every mailing list imaginable!):
Collaborating with its top-tier design enablement and IP partners, Samsung has been
working steadily to ensure that its first FinFET node offers industry-leading power/
With 14nm FinFET fully qualified, Samsung Foundry has begun production at our manufacturing facilities in Korea and the U.S. Customers looking to start a 14nm FinFET design also have access to Samsung Foundry’s regional design teams to ensure the chip design is optimized for first time silicon success.
Advanced process technologies, manufacturing expertise, and first-class services–
Learn why Samsung Foundry is a critical resource for competitive fabless and integrated device manufacturer semiconductor companies. Samsung Foundry offers deep expertise in advanced process and design technologies as well as an excellent track record in high-volume manufacturing. We offer a full range of foundry capabilities from design engagements to turnkey projects, with a focus on leading-edge process technologies from 90nm to 32/28nm on 300mm wafers and beyond.
Benefit from Samsung’s optimized foundry solutions
By outsourcing some or all of the design and manufacturing details to Samsung, you can be confident of maintaining the highest possible product quality while saving time and cost. Samsung Foundry provides a full range of solutions including advanced process technology, design services, design intellectual property (IP), and manufacturing facilities. Customer support is available at every step, from the initial engagement to volume manufacturing. And customer IP is stringently protected.