Today Samsung announced mass production of a SoC built on its third-generation 10nm "10LPE" manufacturing node. It was only this January that Samsung announced mass production of its 14LPP process that ended up being used in the Exynos 8890 and the Snapdragon 820 powering up a large amount of flagship devices this year.

This time around the announcement comes quite early compared to the past 2 years and I wasn't expecting any news from the foundry till maybe later in the quarter. This does however bode well for the SoCs built on the process as they seem they'll be able to easily make the spring 2017 device release schedule.

There wasn't any specification as to what kind of SoC the mass production announcement is refering to, but it's very likely we're talking about S.LSI's next generation Exynos - or maybe even Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 successor, both of which we'll hopefully hear official announcements from in the coming months.

Samsung’s new 10nm FinFET process (10LPE) adopts an advanced 3D transistor structure with additional enhancements in both process technology and design enablement compared to its 14nm predecessor, allowing up to 30-percent increase in area efficiency with 27-percent higher performance or 40-percent lower power consumption. In order to overcome scaling limitations, cutting edge techniques such as triple-patterning to allow bi-directional routing are also used to retain design and routing flexibility from prior nodes.

Credit: DAC 2016 Samsung/Synopsys Breakfast - Ready to Design at 10nm!

The process promises some significant speed and power efficiency advantages over current generation designs so it's likely the next generation of devices will see a large boost, similarly to how the first 14/16 SoCs had large improvements over previous generation 20/28nm designs.

Interestingly the new SoCs will have an edge on recent and upcoming designs still being released on 16nm manufacturing processes, such as Apple's A10 or other TSMC customers who have to wait till next year for 10FF. This presents itself as an opportunity for vendors such as Samsung and Qualcomm to try to close the performance and efficiency gap seen in the current generation through the manufacturing process' good timing.

Source: Press Release

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  • witeken - Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - link

    Sorry, but your post is just based on emotions. Intel will have in 2016 their highest revenue ever with more than $55B.

    Secondly, your knowledge of history is not impeccable. Intel hasn't had a leasing edge position for "the better part of history". They only had a decent advantage from around 2005, with Tick-Tock. But even then it hasn't always been a pure lead, sometimes TSMC has been a little denser, but then maybe a few months later Intel already had their new node, etc.
  • AnotherGuy - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    Some people here are saying only 10% denser, in the article it says 30% increase in area efficency... doesnt that mean 30% denser?
  • psychobriggsy - Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - link

    10% denser than Intel's 14nm.

    The first time in a long time that Intel has fallen behind in transistor layer theoretical density - even if it's only for about 9 months (after the 10nm SS chip comes out) until Cannonlake comes out.

    Given Samsung's 2D BEOL metal routing versus Intel's 1D, the achieved density is likely more than 10% compared to Intel's 10nm, but people often don't consider this.
  • witeken - Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - link

    The last time Intel lost its density lead was in fact in 2014: Apple announced their 20nm A8 chip one day before Intel announced 14nm Broadwell-Y, so not all that long ago...

    The time before that was in 2012: in January AMD launched HD7000 on 28nm, in April Intel launched 22nm.

    So now it will be similar. In April or so (it takes 3 months to manufacture a chip) Samsung S8 and Apple A10X will come out, about half a year later Intel's 10nm will be launched --- Intel's 10nm has in fact about a 1.6x higher density than Samsung/TSMC "10nm".
  • witeken - Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - link

    With the 30% denser, Samsung is referring to the size of their SRAM, which has shrunk from 0.070um2 to 0.049um2.
  • Amandtec - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    If this is true Samsung can expect explosive growth in unit shipments next year.

    Too soon?
  • fanofanand - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    Where are you getting the correlation between node feature size and units shipped?
  • fanofanand - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    Nevermind, I didn't catch the lame puns. *sigh*
  • RU482 - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    sounds like the kind of thing that set demand for their phones on fire
  • 0iron - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    Andrei is back? Looks like you're in hibernation :)
    Is 8890/820 deep dive still in the plan?

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