Samsung 14nm LPP process used on Exynos 8 Octa, Snapdragon 820

JC Torres - Jan 13, 2016, 9:45pm CST
Samsung 14nm LPP process used on Exynos 8 Octa, Snapdragon 820

Samsung has just revealed more details about its newest top of the line processor, the Exynos 8 Octa. The chip already has the distinction of being the OEM’s first integrated one-chip solution. Now Samsung is braging about the manufacturing technology behind the chip. To be specific, the new 14 nanometer FinFET Low Power Plus (LPP) process it uses promises even greater savings in energy without gimping on processing power. Interestingly, Samsung also took the opportunity to publicly confirm that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 indeed uses this Samsung process.

This new chip isn’t actually Samsung’s first 14 nm FinFET processor. That distinction belongs to the Exynos 7 Octa announced practically a year ago. This makes the Exynos 8 Octa 8890 the second generation, but that doesn’t mean it is anything less. While last year’s Exynos used a 14 nm Low Power Energy or LPE process, this one boasts of LPP instead.

Moving to 14 nm is the next big step for chip makers in the race to cram as much silicon in smaller dies. Aside from economizing on space, such improvements in the manufacturing process also results in overall lower power consumption as well as a significant boost in performance. While Qualcomm has once been hailed as the king of the mobile chip market, it needed significant help from Samsung to get on the 14 nm bandwagon for the Snapdragon 820, something that Samsung is only too happy to brag about.

For the new Exynos 8 Octa chip, Samsung utilized a 3D FinFET structure, which practically means laying transistors vertically as well as horizontally. This allows the 14 nm LPP chip to be 15% faster and 15% more power efficient than the previous 14 nm LPE chip.

Samsung says that it has started mass production of this Exynos chip, which means it’s ready to be used for Samsung’s next premium smartphone. Given the schedules, that can only mean the Galaxy S7. Although there’s still some discussion about the sizes that the smartphone will come in, this latest announcement does hint that there will indeed be processor variants as well, with Samsung returning to its Exynos and Snapdragon strategy, at least for this generation.

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