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article imageQualcomm's next 5G chipsets to use Samsung's 7nm process

By James Walker     Feb 22, 2018 in Technology
Qualcomm and Samsung have announced their next 5G mobile chipsets will be built on Samsung's 7nm technology. The new process will improve performance and have a smaller chip footprint. This leaves more room to add new internal components.
Mobile chipsets are currently produced using Samsung's well-established 10nm FinFET process. The incoming 7nm architecture is based on new Low Power Plus (LPP) Extreme Ultra Violet (EUV) technology, which Samsung says will bring reductions in chip footprint and improvements in battery life.
The architecture has a 40 percent increase in area efficiency over 10nm FinFET. This can be harnessed to create a 10 percent performance improvement or an up to 35 percent reduction in typical power consumption. Because the chip is physically smaller, device makers will be able to use the extra space for larger batteries or a slimmer chassis. This will help further improve mobile battery life.
Samsung expects the production of 7nm LPP EUV to be more efficient too. It has fewer process steps than its predecessor and should produce a higher yield. This will reduce costs and allow Samsung to meet industry demand for the next-generation architecture. It's already lined up one significant customer, as Qualcomm plans to produce its upcoming 5G mobile chipsets using 7nm LPP EUV.
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"We are excited to lead the 5G mobile industry together with Samsung," said RK Chunduru, SVP of Qualcomm Technologies Supply Chain and Procurement. "Using 7nm LPP EUV, our new generation of Snapdragon 5G mobile chipsets will take advantage of the process improvements and advanced chip design to improve the user experience of future devices."
Qualcomm's one of the largest customers of contract chip producers, accounting for much of the demand for foundries like Samsung and TSMC. Samsung will also use the new process for its own upcoming 5G mobile chipsets. It'll attempt to sell the technology to additional clients too, targeting buyers such as Apple which currently lead towards TSMC. It has previously claimed its 7nm process will be superior to TSMC's manufacturing options.
Samsung described Qualcomm's decision to use 7nm LPP EUV as an "important milestone" for its foundry business. The two companies have now been collaborating in various arrangements for over a decade. There's no word yet on when the first 7nm Qualcomm packages will appear. Samsung's intending to start foundry production later this year.
More about Qualcomm, Samsung, Mobile, Processors, 5G