Samsung mobile devices to use more powerful and power efficient 14nm processors

by: Varun RajDecember 21, 2012


Samsung has announced a new ARM Cortex-A7 processor which features 14nm technology for its future devices. The powerful new chip brings many performance improvements over the previous chips. The new design Samsung has introduced is being compared with Intel’s Tri-Gate which is found in Ivy Bridge chipsets and is considered very good by many.

The new design not only provides substantially more power but also low leakage. The new chip has been introduced as a result of collaboration between Samsung ARM, and Synopsys. The new chip was successfully tested on 14nm FinFET process technology. It was revealed in a press release that the company has signed with ARM for 14nm IP and physical libraries.

Perhaps the most important and notable feature of this new chip produced by Samsung and its partners is that it consumes less power and provides more processing muscle at the same time. According to the companies, their new 14nm chips will provide “PC-like performance with low power consumption”.

Samsung had already committed to use the big.LITTLE architecture for its Exynos chips in 2013, and it is safe to assume that we will start seeing the new 14nm chips in Samsung devices at some point in 2013.  Samsung has also released a Process Design Kit (PDK) for its customers so they could start designing with the new models, technology files, and design rule manuals on the basis of the silicon results from 14nm FinFET test chips.

Show Press Release

Milestone helps accelerate adoption of FinFET technology for faster and more power efficient Systems on Chips (SoC)s

Collaboration delivers foundation for 3D device modeling and physical design rule support
Test chip qualifies FinFET process and Synopsys® DesignWare® Embedded Memories
Synopsys, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNPS), a global leader providing software, IP and services used to accelerate innovation in chips and electronic systems, today announced that its multi-year collaboration with Samsung on FinFET technology has achieved a critical milestone: the successful tapeout of the first test chip on Samsung’s 14LPE process. While the FinFET process offers significant power and performance benefits compared to the traditional planar process, the move from two-dimensional transistors to three-dimensional transistors introduces several new IP and EDA tool challenges such as modeling. The multi-year collaboration delivered the foundational modeling technologies for 3D parasitic extraction, circuit simulation and physical design-rule support of FinFET devices. Synopsys’ comprehensive solution for embedded memory, physical design, parasitic extraction, timing analysis and signoff is built on this foundation.

“FinFET transistors can deliver lower power consumption and higher device performance, but they also bring tough challenges,” said Dr. Kyu-Myung Choi, vice president of System LSI infrastructure design center, Device Solutions, Samsung Electronics. “We chose Synopsys as our FinFET collaboration partner to solve these challenges, because of our successful history together at 20 nanometer and other nodes. We continue to pool our expertise to deliver innovative FinFET solutions.”

Synopsys’ FinFET-ready IP

Synopsys worked closely with Samsung to develop a test chip that validates Samsung’s advanced 14-nm FinFET process as well as Synopsys’ DesignWare Embedded Memories using Synopsys’ Self-Test and Repair (STAR) Memory System® solution. The test chip will enable the correlation of the simulation models to the FinFET process and contains test structures, standard cells, a PLL and embedded SRAMs. The memory instances include high-density SRAMs designed to operate at very low voltages and high-speed SRAMs to validate the process performance.

Synopsys FinFET-ready Design Tools

The shift from planar to FinFET-based 3D transistors is a significant change that requires close technical collaboration between tool developers, foundries and early adopters to deliver a strong solution. Synopsys’ highly accurate modeling technology provides the foundation for the FinFET-ready Galaxy™ Implementation Platform. The platform includes IC Compiler™ physical design, IC Validator physical verification, StarRC™ parasitic extraction, SiliconSmart characterization, CustomSim™ and FineSim for FastSPICE simulation, and HSPICE® device modeling and circuit simulation.

“Samsung is a key partner in our effort and investment to develop a complete solution for FinFET technology,” said Antun Domic, senior vice president and general manager of Synopsys’ Implementation Group. “Synopsys’ extensive collaboration with Samsung enables us to deliver best-in-class technologies and IP to help designers realize the full potential of FinFET transistor designs.”

  • MasterMuffin

    I thought cortex-a7 was for entry/budget level phones?

    • HellG

      Its performance/Power consumption ratio is amazing its performance is not as good the latest Cortex A9 chips but still plenty fast for normal usage

      • MasterMuffin

        Well that’s true and it’s perfect for the bigLITTLE thing

        • HellG

          I dont know why….I just have a feeling that it wont be inside the S4 if so google would have snatched it for its Nexus 10 :/

          • MasterMuffin

            True… BTW Here’s an amazing dream: 14nm Exynos 5450 in sgs4 (totally impossible, but one can always dream)

          • HellG

            I can only imagine the battery life with a 3000Mah battery *_*

          • MasterMuffin

            I can only imagine the awesomeness of using it *_* :D

  • juspeh

    2013 is too early for 14 nm, Intel will be first to shrunk to 14nm by 2014, and samsung is one of the slowest adopters. Maybe 28nm by early/mid 2013 and 20nm by mid 2014.

    • Freddy


      • DreamOn, Fanbois

        Common sense doesnt count?

  • cycad007

    Really?! I’m shocked…I didn’t expect Samsung just to jump to 14 nm this year. I’ll be very surprised if they’ll be able to pull this off.

    I’m betting they won’t be able to do this….prove me wrong, Samsung!

  • th3d

    This is a misunderstanding, theres no test chip, just the TAPEOUT for a test chip. This could take time.

    Here is Intels definition of a tapeout:

    “Tapeout signals the completion of the initial processor design. Tapeout
    is a sequence of multiple steps. It indicates when the database that
    contains the design information is sent to begin the preparation of
    masks. Masks can be thought of as a template that is used in the
    semiconductor manufacturing process. Previous the database was a paper
    tape, which today has been replaced by an electronic carrier.”

  • ijks

    Maybe this is why Samsung is investing 4 billions dollars into the factory in Austin Texas? But, yeah this is weird since Samsung refused to go 28 and 22nm because they didn’t like the tradeoffs between power gained and the number of unstable chips it produced back in 2011.