Qualcomm and Samsung announced that they have collaborated to create the new Snapdragon 835 SoC on Samsung’s 10nm FinFET process.
It should be noted that Qualcomm and Samsung told us few details about the Snapdragon 835 SoC. Qualcomm said that the design is based on the Snapdragon 820 and 821 SoCs, but the company didn’t specify how many cores were used. It also didn’t reveal which version of the Adreno GPU would be used, or at what frequency the SoC would operate.
“The industry’s first mass production of 10nm FinFET technology demonstrates our leadership in advanced process technology,” said Jong Shik Yoon, Executive Vice President, Head of Foundry Business at Samsung Electronics. “We will continue our efforts to innovate scaling technologies and provide differentiated total solutions to our customers.”
The Snapdragon 835 will contain 10nm FinFET transistors when it is released, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a complete 10nm design. Processors are built in segments, and it is common for a CPU or GPU to use varying processes at different stages of production. For example, a processor may use a 10nm process at one stage and 14nm process elsewhere. By using a larger process at a certain stage, a company can reduce production costs while increasing yields. It can also increase overall efficiency compared using just using the larger process.
Although we cannot say for certain if the Snapdragon 835 is built this way, it is rather early to see 10nm processors on the market, and we should acknowledge the possibility that it is only partially constructed with the 10nm process.
The 10nm transistors inside of the Snapdragon 835 are created by Samsung’s first-generation 10nm process (opens in new tab), which is called “10LPE.” Samsung is already developing a second-generation 10nm process called “10LPP,” which is expected to launch in the second half of 2017.
Qualcomm said that the new 10nm transistor process allows the company to increase area efficiency by 30%. The company also said it will enable either a 27% increase in performance or up to a 40% decrease in power consumption over 14nm transistors.
The new Snapdragon 835 is now in production and it is expected to be released sometime in the first half of 2017.