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Samsung catches up with Intel, delivers its 14nm

Posted: 14 Apr 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Samsung? 14nm? Exynos? processors? GlobalFoundries?

Editor's Note: Dr. Kevin Gibb, product line manager for process at TechInsights, discusses how the maker's marks on Samsung's 14nm Exynos applications processor reveals that Intel's lead is shrinking.

So here it is, Samsung's Exynos 7420 fabbed with a 14nm FinFET process. But whose 14nm process was a question raised a few days ago with the speculation that the "ALB" package marking denoting Albany and perhaps the "G" denoting GlobalFoundries. We at TechInsights thought it worthwhile to take a look at some older Exynos processors to see if there are some common links. So Figures 2 through 5 are package photographs of the Exynos 4412, 5410, 5430 and 5433, respectively.

Samsung Exynos 7420

Figure 1: Samsung Exynos 7420 (Source: TechInsights)

We note that the Exynos 7420 has the label "ALB" beneath the processor part number "N8AZ9MP31". And this has been speculated as being the Albany airport, and by extension the GlobalFoundries Fab 8 in Saratoga, NY. The other devices have the text: ACA for the 4412, ABA for the 5410, AJB for the 5422, BJE for the 5430 and AKD for the 5433.

Now a search of the IATA 3- letter airport codes yields: ACA is Acapulco, ABA is Abakan Russia, AJB non-existent, BJE non-existent, and AKD is Akola India. So with two codes being non-existent and the remaining three being in locations a long way removed from a Samsung foundry, we can safely conclude that the ALB does not refer to a foundry location.

Exynos 4412

Figure 2: Exynos 4412

Exynos 5422

Figure 3: Exynos 5422

Exynos 5430

Figure 4: Exynos 5430

Exynos 5433

Figure 5: Exynos 5433

The G in the Exynos GXL4928R is also seen in the GKL799X of the 4412, the GFL2349C of the 5422, and the GUF6679M of the Exynos 5433. We think this G refers to the use of SRAM memory in the PoP memory modules, and not a foundry code. We also note that these Exynos processors (4412, 5422, 5430, and 5433) were fabbed long before the 14 nm node, and before GlobalFoundries licensed Samsung's 14nm process. So it is unlikely that the G identifies the foundry and by elimination, we think the Exynos 7420 is fabbed by Samsung itself.

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