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Featured: Samsung to More Aggressively Compete with Intel with 20nm and 14nm Process Nodes

June 7, 2012 - Written By Lucian Armasu

Samsung is already the world’s #2 chip maker after Intel, thanks to the popularity of its ARM chips that are inside both its devices, and Apple’s devices as well. That’s a lot of chips that need to be churned out for these 2 huge companies in the smartphone market. But Samsung is not going to stand still, but is actually going to be very aggressive about moving to smaller and smaller process nodes, and plans to invest in $1.9 billion in next-gen 20nm and 14nm chips.

Samsung is expecting to start shipping 20nm chips by the end of next year, and the 14 nm ones will probably come out a year later, in 2014. TSMC and Global Foundries are also planning to make 20nm chips by the end of next year, which should reduce the gap all around between Intel’s chips and ARM chips, when it comes to the manufacturing technology. This means ARM chips will more easily retain the power consumption and low-cost advantages against Intel chips.

The 64 bit ARMv8 architecture should arrive with 20nm next-gen chips (the ones after Cortex A15), and probably transition to 14nm by the end of the year. At 14nm we should also see the successor of the ultra-low-power Cortex A7 chip, that Samsung will most likely adopt for their product line-up, especially for the low-end, but also as companion for Cortex A15 and its successor in the big.Little configuration. The 14nm chips will also be FinFET, similar to Intel’s Ivy Bridge “3D” technology.

Samsung is leading the way for ARM chips and smartphones, and with a predicted 3.8 billion smartphones by 2016, Samsung should become a juggernaut chip maker, that serves not only themselves, but also others in the industry.