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Samsung to produce 14nm FinFET chips for AMD, Apple, Qualcomm – report

Samsung Electronics has lost exclusive chip manufacturing contract with Apple, but a new report claims that that the company has managed to land orders from Advanced Micro Devices and Qualcomm.

ZDNet reports that Samsung is projected to begin producing application processors (APs) for clients such as Apple, AMD and Qualcomm using its 14nm FinFET process technology “around the end of the year”. While the information is not something completely impossible, timing seems rather strange.

AMD has traditionally used GlobalFoundries and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to produce its chips, but it looks like with 14nm FinFET fabrication process the company could also make orders to Samsung. The latter recently licensed its 14nm FF manufacturing technology to GlobalFoundries, hence, AMD could produce chips at both contract makers of semiconductors. It is unclear which chips Advanced Micro Devices plans to produce at Samsung’s fab in Austin, Texas, in late 2014. It is logical to expect AMD to release something made using 14nm FF sometimes in 2015, however, such chips are not even in AMD’s roadmap.

samsung_semiconductor_facility

Apple is not expected to begin production of its next-generation A9 system-on-chip for its 2015 smartphones and tablets in late 2014, therefore, it is unlikely that Samsung will get any 14nm FF orders from the consumer electronics giant earlier than in late-Q1 – early-Q2.

Qualcomm has never revealed plans to use 14nm FF process technology from GlobalFoundries and Samsung. However, keeping in mind that the company may be struggling to get enough leading-edge mobile chips from TSMC, UMC and SMIC, it could use Samsung as a second-source.

AMD, Apple, Qualcomm and Samsung did not comment on the news-story.

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KitGuru Says: It is very intriguing what AMD could produce at Samsung using 14nm process technology. In case AMD indeed manages to make a mobile SoC at 14nm FF node in the first half of next year, it could probably finally enter the market of tablets with a rather competitive offering. Unfortunately, based on AMD’s roadmap, it only plans to release 20nm project Skybridge accelerated processing units and SoCs next year. While it is possible that AMD could make a surprise with a 14nm chip, the company is not known for surprises…

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