Most Of Apple's A9/A9X Chips To Be Manufactured On TSMC's 16nm FinFET Process

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Mac266

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"considering the new report said that up to 70 percent of the chips will be built on 16nm, it's possible that Apple may build the A9 chip that goes inside the iPhone 6S Plus, as well"

I think thats meant to be TSMC may build the A9
 

ericburnby

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Samsungs 14nm process isn't 100% 14nm (like Intel, for example). The interconnects are 22nm. So nobody knows for sure which overall process is better - Samsungs 14/22nm mix or TSMC 16nm.
 

ta152h

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Samsungs 14nm process isn't 100% 14nm (like Intel, for example). The interconnects are 22nm. So nobody knows for sure which overall process is better - Samsungs 14/22nm mix or TSMC 16nm.
Intel's aren't 14nm either. There's nothing in any chip that is 14nm, it's just a name they call them.

Intel likes to lie about their process, and show the dimensions that make them look good, but the fact is, Apples A8X, on TSMC's 20nm, has 48% more transistors in the same area as Intel's 14nm Core M processor. It's just one implementation, so doesn't tell the whole story, but it does make it clear Intel's 14nm isn't nearly as dense as Intel would have you believe.

Also, who said Samsung's 14nm is better performing? There's absolutely no data indicating this, and most in the industry believe TSMC's 16FF+ will be higher performing, but it's far from certain.

 

none12345

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Its gotten to the point that whatever they call the size of their process it doesnt matter, because it doesnt mean anything. So, who cares at this point if its 14nm 16nm or 18nm or 22nm, or whatever they want to call it.

I care how fast the chips are, not what process they were made on. I care how efficient they are not, what process they are made on. One is going to be better then the other, but it might not be the same for every chip, or what they favor(speed, or efficiency)
 

extide

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Intel's 14nm was a true shrink on the front end of line (FEOL) AND back end of line (BEOL) vs their 22nm node. Where as samsung/tsmc/gf all only shrank the FEOL vs their 20nm nodes. The back end (metalization layers) are still the same as their 20nm process. They are basically just adding the smaller transistors + finfets to the existing BEOL, which makes it much more like a half-shrink. So, yes even though Intel's 14nm isnt really 14nm, (and NOBODY's else's is actually as small as the marketing name either) it is still a bigger leap forward than any of the competition. This is also Intel's second gen FinFETs, vs everyone else's 1st gen.
 

Mohammed Saleh

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For the 16nm process technology, TSMC employed seven-layer Cu-low-k interconnection. The half pitch of the first metal interconnection is 32nm. The fin pitch is 48nm. While Samsung’s 14nm FinFET process uses a 20nm metal interconnect.
see: techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20131213/322503
 

aldaia

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Whole article is based on what some analysts believe.
"We believe TSMC .... said analysts from Daiwa Securities."

I recently heard rumors (and as rumors, should be taken with a grain of salt) that point that Apple is actually splitting different SOC generations between fabs.

2015:
A9 14nm FinFET 75% samsung, 25% GF
A9X 16nm FinFET 100% TSMC
S1 (apple watch) 28 nm 100% samsung

2016:
A10 16nm FinFET++ 100% TSMC
A10X 10 nm FinFET 100% samsung
S2 (apple watch) 20 nm 100% TSM

If those rumors are true apple is actually splitting production and interleaving between fabs. Wich i think makes a lot of sense, you know, never put all your eggs into one basket. Those rumors also suggest that samsung may be producing 10nm chips by 2016 (probably to be sold in 2017 products). The same rumors also seem to confirm previous rumors that A10X may be used for "iPad & Mac".

As I said they are only rumors, but who knows!

 

chyang888

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I wish Nvidia and AMD could use Samsung's Fab's. I'm so tired of TSMC delays it's not even funny.
What delay with TSMC are you referring to? The delay is more likely with Nvidia / AMD and not with TSMC. The TSMC 20nm and 16nm process node are already in production for quite a while now.
 

chyang888

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Samsungs 14nm process isn't 100% 14nm (like Intel, for example). The interconnects are 22nm. So nobody knows for sure which overall process is better - Samsungs 14/22nm mix or TSMC 16nm.
This makes a lot of sense. But we'll know for sure when the Samsung chip is decapped and measured. The 14nm is only the transistor channel gate. But the wires are at a higher pitch such as 20 or 22nm, which means you really don't get as much of an advantage from a chip speed perspective. But there should be power saving.



 

chyang888

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For the 16nm process technology, TSMC employed seven-layer Cu-low-k interconnection. The half pitch of the first metal interconnection is 32nm. The fin pitch is 48nm. While Samsung’s 14nm FinFET process uses a 20nm metal interconnect.
see: techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20131213/322503
You read the article incorrectly. The 16FF uses the same metal as 20nm technology. So the minmum metal width is 20nm. It says the half pitch is 32nm - which means 64nm pitch in the first metal layer. This doesn't mean wire width is 32nm. It means the metal is 20nm with 44nm spacing to accommodate FinFet pitch and Vt space requirement. Metal 2 should have the minimum patch, which should be the same as the minimum in 20nm planar node. (probably 48nm or 50nm would be my guess).

The mass production TSMC FinFet node would be 16FF+ which will be its 2nd generation.

Intel's 2nd gen 14nm node metal 1 pitch is 70nm. Metal 2 is 52nm pitch (minimum). My guess is that Intel is still using 22nm planar node for metal. True 14nm wire width probably won't come until 3rd or 4th gen.

This article came from 2014 December. It mentioned that TSMC is slightly ahead in terms of metal density.

https://www.semiwiki.com/forum/content/4110-iedm-tsmc-intel-ibm-14-16nm-processes.html

 
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