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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 To Be Manufactured On 10nm LPP and 14nm LPE By Samsung

Ramish Zafar
Posted Oct 13, 2015
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With the disappointment that the Snapdragon 810 turned out to be, all eyes are now on Qualcomm’s next SoC, the Snapdragon 820. The company seems to be taking an all new direction with the Snapdragon 820, choosing to equip the processor with custom cores, rather than to employ ARM’s Cortex cores as we saw in the Snapdragon 810. The Kryo cores on the processor are said to offer significant performance advantages over ARM’s designs that Qualcomm has previously used in the Snapdragon series, and today we get to learn some more information about the chip’s manufacturing process.

The Snapdragon 820 To Be Manufactured By Samsung On 10 And 14nm Nodes

When it comes to the mobile world, we’ve started to see several new trends taking place recently. Apple launched this year’s iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus with the A9, a processor that has been manufactured on two different processes – namely Samsung’s 14nm and TSMC’s 16nm FinFET. While the company might claim that both the processors offer the same level of performance, differentiation between them still exists and today we’ve learned that Qualcomm might be heading in a similar direction with its Snapdragon 820.

According to our Chinese friends, the American chipmaking giant will be opting for two very different manufacturing processes for its flagship processor, which are Samsung’s 14nm LPE and 10nm LPP processes. While LPE processes are generally the first ones to hit the market, LPP offers enhanced performance than the former, including reduced leakage, better power efficiency and improved execution of tasks. While it sounds highly unlikely that Samsung will be ready to make the jump to 10nm as early as next year, today’s information does manage to shake things up.

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The 14nm variant of the Snapdragon 820 is expected to hit markets before the 10nm variant, which should be apparent if you have even the slightest know how of the mobile hardware world. Samsung’s expected to start producing the chip on its 14nm process by the end of this year or the start of the next and after the processor has hit the market, we should expect production to commence on the 10nm variant, all of which depends on the authenticity of today’s information.

If true, then today’s information raises a couple of important questions. Firstly, since Samsung’s heavily involved in the manufacturing of the Snapdragon 820, which variant of the processor will the Korean tech giant be using in its Galaxy S7 flagship smartphone, also expected to hit the shelves in Q1 2016? Will it be the lower 14nm variant, or will the company reserve the launch of Snapdragon 820 Galaxy S7 devices until 10nm is fully ready?

After all, if it chooses to utilize the 14nm variant for the device, then other manufacturers could introduce better devices after the 10nm variant becomes available. It’s a decision that won’t be taken lightly since the Snapdragon based Galaxy S7 is expected to hit the US and Chinese markets, two of the biggest markets in the world. Today’s information throws in a nice bit of speculation into the Snapdragon 810 equation. However, do note that this is just another rumor coming from a Chinese social networking site, so let’s please take it with a lot of salt. Let us know what you think in the comments section below and stay tuned for the latest.

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*Edit: Thanks for the feedback. The relevant changes have been made to clear any confusions on the matter.

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