Following the announcement of the Exynos 9810 system-on-chip, there’s almost no chance Samsung will equip the Galaxy Note 9 with a 7nm piece of silicon, with the company still being vague on the details regarding its next-generation process nodes. The foundry business of the South Korean tech giant recently finalized its 8nm specification but has yet to commercialize it, with the 7nm FinFET solution mostly remaining a mystery, though the company recently revealed such advanced chips will also be manufactured by its S3 factory, the same one that’s now producing the Exynos 9810.
Samsung’s consolidated financial report for the final quarter of 2017 reveals that the firm is presently largely focused on increasing the production capacity of its second-generation 10nm chips, i.e. the Exynos 9810, whereas the 7nm technology isn’t mentioned in the context of 2018. While the firm is planning to commercialize 8nm solutions in the second half of the year, it remains to be seen whether it manages to achieve acceptable yield rates, making the Exynos 9810 still the most likely chip to be featured inside the Galaxy Note 9. TSMC is also pursuing new silicon manufacturing techniques in order to fit even more transistors onto its integrated circuitry but the company’s near-term 7nm plans aren’t too similar to those of Samsung, with the Taiwanese semiconductor firm being adamant to commercialize conventional 7nm solutions before exploring Extreme Ultra Violet lithography, whereas Samsung is looking to make a direct jump to 7nm EUV production nodes.
It’s presently unclear whether Samsung’s 7nm platform will be able to deliver significant improvements in terms of raw processing power and energy efficiency compared to the upcoming 8nm solution, at least in the context of commercial use. The Galaxy S9 lineup set to be officially launched late next month will be the first annual revision of one of Samsung’s Android flagship families that won’t feature a chip based on a more advanced process node compared to its direct predecessor, which some industry watchers are interpreting as the start of a new trend of declining innovation in the chipmaking segment. The Galaxy Note 9 is expected to be officially announced in late summer, much like the previous additions to the phablet series.