Minimum 50% battery life boost for Galaxy S12 over S10 thanks to Samsung fab breakthrough
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Samsung could be set to dramatically close the performance and efficiency gap between its home grown Exynos chips and Apple’s market-leading A-series chips thanks to a breakthrough in its fabrication process. While Apple has an architectural lead over the competition, Samsung is set to take what could be at 12-month (or greater) lead by being the first foundry to move to the 3nm process. This will lead to inherent gains in performance and efficiency even without advancements in the underlying chip architecture.
Most chips currently being fabricated at 7nm process use the FinFET process; however, it has limitations and only Samsung has managed to transfer this technique down to 5nm – we will see the fruits of this labor in the next generation Galaxy S11 next year. However, to get to 3nm, Samsung has developed a new technique called gate-all-around (GAA) Multi-Bridge-Channel FET (MBCFET) that is considered to be a game changer. This will see the die size of a chip fabricated on the 7nm node shrink by 45 percent and also bringing performance gains of at least 35 percent and efficiency gains of up to 50 percent.
The two chips currently found in the Galaxy S10, depending on market, are either the Samsung Exynos 9820, which is fabricated on an 8nm FinFET process, or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, which is fabricated on the 7nm FinFET process. With its Exynos chips fabricated at 3nm set to roll of the production line in 2021, the Galaxy S12 looks set to be the beneficiary of Samsung’s industry-leading advances. Given that Samsung in conjunction with ARM will continue to evolve its RISC architecture, performance gains great the 35 percent and battery life gains greater than 50 percent are very much on the cards.
As for Apple, it currently relies entirely on Taiwanese fabricator TSMC for its A-series chips and it looks like TSMC could be left in Samsung’s wake -- unless Apple strikes a deal and Samsung has the capacity to fabricate future A-series chips.