Samsung Begins Mass Production Of the 14nm LPP Process – AMD x86 Zen Processors On Schedule for Late 2016 Launch
The Samsung/GlobalFoundries 14nm LPP process with FinFETs is a very important node for PC enthusiasts – because everything so far points to it being the host process for the upcoming Zen processors. It would appear that progress on the node is being made on-schedule since a report by Benchlife.info confirms that Samsung has started the ramp to mass production on its 14nm LPP node. As many of you would undoubtedly know, the 14LPP node, unlike the 14LPE node, can be used to fabricate high performance ASICs with even lower power requirements.
Mass production of Samsung / GlobalFoundries 14nm LPP process begins on schedule
A few weeks ago, we reported that the ramp to 14nm FinFETs is going on schedule and the jump to volume production will happen sometime in early 2016. The volume ramp indicates that the process has become reasonably mature and yields have reached appropriate levels. This also means that the floor is now open to process orders from the market. Of course, keep in mind that early priority on any given node is usually given to mobile processors, so usually, the fact that Samsung has started mass production of 14LPP does not necessarily equate to it being an indication of mass production of AMD products.
That said, Samsung had already rolled out the 14nm LPE or Low-Power Early node for mobile devices which has a better time to market, so it can be safely be said that mass production of AMD products will start very soon – if it hasn’t already. 8 months is the approximate time it takes for a product to hit the shelves after going into mass production on the factory floor – so this perfectly coincides with Zen’s schedule, which is all set to appear in late 2016. I would also like to point out here that AMD has yet to officially declare a fab partner for the production of Zen, although everything (including a footnote in an AMD press deck) points to it being the 14 LPP Samsung/GlobalFoundries process.
Samsung/GlobalFoundries 14nm FinFET Technology
Our 14nm FinFET ramp is exceeding plan with best-in-class yield and defect density. The early-access version of the technology (14LPE) was qualified in January and is well on its way to volume production, meeting yield targets on lead customer products. The performance-enhanced version of the technology (14LPP) is set for qualification in the second half of 2015, with the volume ramp beginning in early 2016. Prototyping on test vehicles has demonstrated excellent logic and SRAM yields and performance at near 100% of target.
A little recap for our readers who are still confused about the entire Samsung/GlobalFoundries affair: Samsung, GlobalFoundries and IBM have maintained for many year what they called the “Common Platform” which involved sharing R&D. This time around, Samsung has went one step further, and exclusively with GloFo I might add (IBM was not mentioned), with an approach called Copy-Smartly. If you think this sounds familiar – you would be right. Copy-Smartly follows the same ideology behind Intel’s Copy Exactly (but not to the same level of duplication) and involves GloFo synchronizing its recipe, tool and process at its own foundries. In simple words, a 14nm LPP ramp at Samsung can be taken as a successful 14nm LPP ramp at GlobalFoundries.