Samsung teams with GlobalFoundries on 3D chips

The deal will help Samsung and GlobalFoundries provide an adequate supply of mobile chips

Samsung is partnering with chip manufacturer GlobalFoundries to increase the supply of low-power, high-speed chips for smartphones and tablets.

GlobalFoundries has licensed Samsung's 14-nanometer FINFET chip making process, which is used to manufacture 3D transistors. Those transistors will allow GlobalFoundries to make chips that are 20 percent faster and use 35 percent less power than chips made using its current 20-nanometer technology, the companies said.

GlobalFoundries doesn't use the chips itself. It's a foundry supplier, which means it makes chips for other companies that outsource their chip production, such as Advanced Micro Devices, Nvidia and Qualcomm.

Chip makers are constantly racing to build faster, more power-efficient chips, and the deal with Samsung will help GlobalFoundries compete better with other foundry suppliers such as Taiwan's TSMC.

In fact, GlobalFoundries had been pursuing its own 14-nanometer technology, which it planned to introduce this year. It has now dropped that technology, apparently deciding that Samsung's FINFET process is a better option.

Moving to a more advanced process quickly is important to staying competitive. Many of today's mobile devices use 28-nanometer chips, but Qualcomm recently announced its first 64-bit, 20-nanometer part, a step on the way to 14 nanometer.

Intel, which has some of the most advanced manufacturing plants in the world, is already making 14-nanometer chips. They'll be introduced this year for PCs. Samsung, GlobalFoundries and others have been accelerating their manufacturing road maps to catch up.

TSMC, which is the world's largest foundry supplier, will start producing 3D transistors this year using a 16-nanometer process. The number refers to the smallest circuits etched on the surface of the chips.

The deal between Samsung and GlobalFoundries could bring them certain advantages. They'll be able to promise customers a steady supply of chips, because customers will now be able to order the same type of FINFET products from GlobalFoundries' factory in Saratoga County, New York, as well as from Samsung's factories in Korea and in Austin, Texas.

Intel and TSMC each use different 14-nm and FINFET technologies, so their customers don't have the option to use other companies' fabs.

GlobalFoundries will start making the 14-nm chips early next year, though they might not reach mobile devices until 2016, since device makers will first need to test and validate the chips in their products. The manufacturing process will be used for a range of graphics and application processors.

FINFET transistors can be used in all kinds of computers, including desktops and servers, but GlobalFoundries cut the deal with Samsung technology mainly to meet the growing demand for smartphone and tablet chips, said Ana Hunter, GlobalFoundries' vice president of product management.

GlobalFoundries was formed when AMD spun out its chip manufacturing plants a few years ago. AMD is one of GlobalFoundries' main customers, and last week the two companies extended their chip-making deal.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags consumer electronicssmartphonesSamsung ElectronicsComponentsglobalfoundriesprocessors

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?