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article imageSamsung starts mass-production of new 10nm smartphone processors

By James Walker     Dec 1, 2017 in Technology
Samsung's announced that mass production of 10nm chips based on its second-generation FinFET technology has begun. The processors should start showing up in smartphones next year and will offer considerable performance and battery life improvements.
The manufacturing line is located in Hwaesong, Korea, and is the third established Samsung foundry plant assigned to chip production. Samsung expects demand for 10nm LPP (low power plus) chips to rise considerably over the next year. Although it's not an entirely new process, the shift from 10nm LPE (low power early) to 10LPP is expected to have noticeable benefits for end users.
According to Samsung, devices using the new processors could have up to 10 percent higher performance than comparable 10LPE chips. In addition, power consumption will be reduced by as much as 15 percent. This will result in longer-lasting smartphones with more capable internals, helping to meet the demands of next-generation consumer tech such as virtual reality and on-device AI.
The launch of 10LPP is intended to keep Samsung's business at the forefront of the industry while it continues to commercialise its upcoming 8nm process. The company also confirmed that a 7nm FinFET process with EUV (Extreme Ultra Violet) technology is in development. These chips will also be produced at the S3 plant assigned to 10LPP chips.
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Samsung said that 10LPP tech will provide its customers – primarily SoC manufacturers such as Qualcomm – with heightened competitive advantages in 2018. The company said that 10LPP production will have a higher initial yield, reducing losses and cutting costs. The turnaround time will also be lower, allowing production to respond more actively to market changes.
"We will be better able to serve our customers through the migration from 10LPE to 10LPP with improved performance and higher initial yield," said Ryan Lee, vice president of Samsung Electronics Foundry Marketing. "Samsung with its long-living 10nm process strategy will continue to work on the evolution of 10nm technology down to 8LPP to offer customers distinct competitive advantages for a wide range of applications."
There's no word yet on when 10LPP will arrive in consumer devices. However, it's highly probable it will make its first appearance inside Samsung's flagship Exynos mobile processor for 2018. It can also be expected to power the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, the chip set to power many of the top-performing Android smartphones next year. Both Qualcomm and Samsung are likely to concentrate on improving power efficiency rather than raw compute performance.
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