The long-awaited move from 20 nanometer processors to 14nm clocks marches forward, as Samsung announces its new Exynos 7 is now in mass production. iOS fans have reason to be just as excited as Galaxy lovers.
Samsung based the Exynos 7 on the company's new 14nm FinFET process technology and it's hands down the best mobile processor in the industry, says Gabsoo Han, executive VP of sales and marketing of System LSI Business at Samsung Electronics.
"We expect the production of our 14nm mobile application processor to positively impact the growth of the mobile industry by enabling further performance improvements for cutting-edge smartphones," says Han.
Samsung says the 20nm process technology will deliver around a 20 percent improvement in performance, about a 30 percent bump in productivity and draw approximately 35 percent less power than its 20nm processor designs.
The Galaxy maker began researching the dual-channel, transistor layout of FinFET technology back in the early 2000s. With the Exynos 7, Samsung is making that FinFET scheme more compact and efficient by moving from a more planar design to one in which the transistors are stacked into a "3D" build.
The 14nm FinFet process technology will implemented in the Exynos 7 Octa first and then rolled out in other processors later in the year.
The latest step in Samsung's work with 14nm processors is also good news for frenemy Apple. Yes the two companies trade blows, going 12 rounds every 12 months, but Apple relies on Samsung for a significant portion of its processing technology.
Apple recently began to rely less on Samsung's chip and started contracting with TSMC, but the 14nm design could be the game changer. Back in late 2014, reports emerged stated Samsung and Apple joined forces to push ahead the progress of the 14nm FinFet process technology.
With a 16nm, TSMC's process technology isn't automatically marginalized by Samsung's new 14nm designs. It's still unclear just how much Apple now relies on Samsung and TSMC, as the latest news on the incoming A9 chip is conflicting on which foundry will be commissioned to produce the processors for the next series of iPhones and iPads.
In December of 2014, Summit Research's Srini Sundarajan stated that industry insiders believed Samsung had the edge as Apple selects the foundry for the A9. He said he thinks a third company, Global Foundries, may be involved, though it was little more than a dark horse candidate at the time.