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article imageSamsung to 'exclusively' build next-gen Snapdragon 830 processors

By James Walker     Oct 6, 2016 in Technology
Samsung has signed a deal with Qualcomm to "exclusively" manufacture the company's next-generation Snapdragon 830 processing chips for flagship smartphones. The Snapdragon 830 is likely to be the dominant processor in high-end mobile devices next year.
Qualcomm will allow Samsung to build its flagship processor for the second year in a row, South Korean news outlet ET News reported today. Previously, Qualcomm's chips were fabricated by TSMC. However, after the Snapdragon 810, the company switched to Samsung. While the reasons for the change remain unknown, it's likely to be related to a combination of technical architecture, price, availability and the Snapdragon 810's notorious overheating issues.
Samsung has built the Snapdragon 820 and Snapdragon 821 successor on its 14nm process. According to the report, it is planning to use its upcoming 10nm process for the 830 though. This will be the first time that 10nm chips are manufactured commercially for smartphones. Samsung is also planning to use the processor for its own Exynos 8895 mobile processor, destined for next year's Galaxy S8.
The move to the 10nm process will make next-generation chips more power efficient, enabling longer battery lives and reducing heat output. There will also be a marked performance improvement, enabling next year's phones to handle new features such as virtual reality without sacrificing quality or frame rate.
The Snapdragon 830 will come with an Adreno 540 GPU, enabling higher-resolution graphics in games and virtual reality. VR is becoming increasingly important in the mobile space and is a headline feature of high-end handsets. Next year, it's set to gain an even greater presence as manufacturers aim to achieve mass adoption. More powerful phones that produce less heat could make VR headsets more attractive and less uncomfortable to wear.
ET News' report states that Samsung will use FoPLP (Fan-out Panel Level Package) technology to build the new Snapdragon 830 and Exynos 8895. This allows Samsung to remove the PCB (printed circuit board) layer of the processor package, reducing the cost of production. It will also facilitate thinner packages and increased input and output ports.
It's still several months before the Snapdragon 830 will begin appearing in phones. The current Snapdragon 821, an incremental upgrade over the Snapdragon 820, has so far only appeared in Google's Pixel and Pixel XL, launched earlier this week. The 821 offers around 10% greater performance than the 820. It has a slightly higher core clock speed and a faster graphics processor that's been tuned for higher performance.
Samsung has not confirmed it will manufacture the Snapdragon 830. While it's unlikely Qualcomm will return to TSMC after just one year with Samsung, ET News' report has not been corroborated. Samsung will be eager to take Qualcomm's business though. Last year's deal to build the Snapdragon 820 is thought to have been valued at over $1 billion.
More about Samsung, Qualcomm, snapdragon, snapdragon 830, Mobile
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