As I have mentioned before, there are very few secrets in Silicon Valley. Just last week I was minding my own business at a Starbucks when I overheard two engineers complaining about Samsung 14nm shuttles being delayed. They had badges on but I won’t out them because it could have easily been any of the fabless companies in Silicon Valley since just about all of them are working with Samsung this time around, even Apple.
Another good source on who is using what foundry at 14nm and 16nm is LinkedIn. If you are a premium member you can do advanced searches for the fabless company of choice with “14nm”, “16nm” or “FinFET” as key search terms. Good thing TSMC chose a different path and named it 16nm so we can get better search results. You will find Apple, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Marvell, Nvidia, AMD, Cisco, LSI, Avago, Oracle, Freescale, Jupiter, SanDisk, etc… all of the leading edge fabless semiconductor companies.
Of course I have > 20k connections so it makes it a bit easier since hundreds of my 1[SUP]st[/SUP] connections are doing FinFETs. I’m told that LinkedIn caps connections at 30k so if you want to connect to me you had better not delay. I’m linked to the majority of the SemiWiki fan base so you can do the math on that one if you really want to know how many registered members we have.
Based on the LinkedIn searches I did, all companies designing with FinFETs are using TSMC 16nm. Most are also using Samsung 14nm but some are TSMC loyal customers, Broadcom, Oracle, and Xilinx to name a few. I couldn’t find a company that is only Samsung 14nm which supports my opinion that Samsung is being used as a price lever against TSMC. Of course when I say Samsung 14nm it includes GlobalFoundries as they have a “copy exact” version running up there in Malta, NY.
Try a “10nm” search and you may be surprised at how many people are working on it already. There is also mention of work at 7nm. You can search “Intel 14nm” and see that only Altera, Tabula, and Achronix are working on it. The other Intel Custom Foundry customers must not be doing the actual AMS and layout work yet or Intel is doing it for them.
The nice thing about Apple is that they have a set annual release schedule which is in September. In order to get wafers in time for a September 2015 iProduct refresh the designs must be taped out in Q4 2014 so fabless semiconductor professionals like myself now know for sure which foundry gets what iProduct next year. It is still fun however to watch the regular journalists go all tabloid on this to get cheap clicks for their advertisements. Some of those same journalists are STILL saying Samsung is providing Apple with 20nm parts which is not true.
Where will Apple Manufacture the next iPhone Brain?
by Daniel Nenni Published on 07-17-2013
The not so nice thing about Apple is that they seem to take unfair advantage of the supply chain. This comes from the legal action between Apple and GTAT over a VERY one sided sapphire display contract that may bankrupt GTAT:
“When GTAT’s management expressed their obvious concerns to Apple regarding the deal terms during the contract negotiations, Apple responded that similar terms are required for other Apple suppliers and that GTAT should: ‘Put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement.’”
Disclaimer: The LinkedIn search engine is not great so results may vary depending on who you are connected to and what type of membership you have.Share this post via: