Snapdragon 820 to be Made by Samsung with New 14nm FinFET LPP Process
Today, we learned that the Snapdragon 820 will, in fact, be built by Samsung. While it was likely this would be the case after learning the process specification, we now have official confirmation that it won’t be GlobalFoundries’ 14nm yield to make it into the big-name flagships of 2016. This is big news for two reasons: one, it confirms that the 820 will use Samsung’s class-leading fabrication process; and two, it could mean that the 820 will have few issues and, perhaps, even make it to Samsung flagships.
Alongside this reveal came the official announcement of the 2nd generation, 14nm FinFET process mass production from Samsung. With this new generation, dubbed LPP (“Low-Power Plus”), the company claims to have achieved unparalleled power efficiency through optimizations to their three-dimensional FinFET transistor structure, and will be used in their upcoming Exynos 8 chipset set to appear on Samsung flagships throughout 2016 (explained here). The new process can deliver up to 15% higher speed and 15% less power consumption over the previous 14nm LPE process, a considerable gain considering this is mostly optimization of the process and structure rather than a full size change.
Keep in mind that the Snapdragon 820 using Samsung’s fabrication process does not guarantee that the chipset will find its way to Samsung flagships (and this is not the first time it’s happened either). Recent benchmark leaks have suggested it would, but we must not get excited just yet (as much as we want AOSP ROMs on Samsung hardware). That being said, the 820 using the same 14nm LPP process found in the newer Exynos will likely result in a more competitive chipset race this year. In 2015, the Snapdragon 810 not only suffered throttling issues, but the A57 cores on the 810 had relatively high power consumption and did so especially on 20nm nodes, which was one of the reasons why sustained performance took a hit and A53 cores had to be used so often.