IFTLE 228 Samsung goings on
By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor
Let’s take a break from the conference circuit to take a look at some significant Samsung goings on in the industry.
Battling over Apple
Not since the Garden of Eden have we seen so much activity generated by an apple?
Recall, Apple signed up TSMC back in 2013 to produce its future A series processor chips while undergoing legal battles with Samsung their current provider. However, Apple has not been unable to completely disengage from Samsung. Both TSMC and Samsung produced the 22nm A8 processors for the iPhone 6 though TSMC had the majority of the order.
Now, according to South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper, Apple has turned back to Samsung to manufacture its A9 chip. Reports are that Samsung will get 75% of the chip production for the next iPhone [link].
Samsung reportedly began production of Apple’s A9 in their Austin TX plant using the 14nm FinFET technology. Samsung has 14nm FinFET production capability in both Austin, and Giheung, Korea, but will produce A9 only in Austin initially. IFTLE guesses that this “technically” makes the chips “made in the USA.”
Rumors of Samsung dropping Qualcomm Snapdragon in next Galaxy phone
Samsung also is putting significant pressure on Qualcomm with the pervasive rumors that Samsung will use its own microprocessors in the next version of the Galaxy S smartphone. Both Qualcomm and Samsung have declined comment.
Citing “people with direct knowledge of the matter,” Bloomberg has reported that that Samsung, “…tested the new version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip, known as the 810, and decided not to use it”. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, combined with its cellular baseband chips, have dominated the market for smartphones in recent years.
Qualcomm has faced rumors in recent months about potential overheating in the 810. While it is believed that Qualcomm has solved the 810′s overheating problems, the issue has put Snapdragon 810 production a few months behind schedule [link].
Qualcomm has publically confirmed that it will no longer supply chips for a “large customer’s flagship device”. While the company did not confirm that this was Samsung, the firm in question is big enough for Qualcomm to lower its 2015 outlook in its first quarter fiscal financial results [link].
It remains possible that Qualcomm will convince Samsung that they have fixed the overheating problem and be reinserted into the Samsung phone.
Samsung mass producing high-density ePoP memory for Smartphones
Samsung has announced that the company will be mass producing the extremely thin ePoP (embedded package on package) memory, a single memory package consisting of 3GB LPDDR3 DRAM, 32GB eMMC and a controller for use in high-end smartphones [link].
The 3GB LPDDR3 mobile DRAM inside the ePoP operates at an I/O data transfer rate of 1,866Mb/s, with a 64-bit I/O bandwidth.
Because of its “thinness and special heat-resistant properties,” Samsung claims that the smartphone ePoP does not need any space beyond the 225 square millimeters (15 x 15mm x 1.4mm high) taken up by the mobile application processor. A conventional PoP (also 15 by 15mm), consisting of the mobile processor and DRAM, along with a separate eMMC (11.5mm by 13mm multimedia card) package, takes up 374.5 square millimeters. Replacing that set-up with a Samsung ePoP reportedly decreases the total area used by approx. 40%.
Samsung is basically stacking all the memory, both RAM and NAND, on a single ePoP module that’s then positioned on top of the processor, rather than beside it as shown below.
The use of such ePoP chips seems to be a likely choice for the upcoming Galaxy S6. It is intended to be used in mobile devices packing 64-bit processors and 3GB of RAM which is what’s rumored to be spec’ed in the Galaxy S6 and other top mobile devices later this year.
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