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Author: 0gre Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 54611  
Subject: 22nm Date: 9/18/2013 1:22 AM
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Interesting bit of commentary on Apple's new 64 bit offering.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1694892-intel-and-apple-an-i...

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It appears that to get 1 billion transistors on a 102 sq. mm chip would require something much better than the 28nm processes available at either TSMC (TSM) or Samsung. Some are speculating that the A7 is being built by TSMC on a 20 nm planar process. That would be all well and fine except that TSMC claims that its 20nm process will not be ready for volume production until early 2014.
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In a nutshell, he's suggesting that Apple's newest CPU is being made by someone capable of producing chips with a 22nm process.

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I will leave it for you to come to your own conclusions, but if there is another semiconductor manufacturer that is capable of the A7 volume at anything close to 22nm, Intel and I are in deep yogurt.
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So is Intel making the A7? If not, who is?
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Author: BowlOSoup Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 54548 of 54611
Subject: Re: 22nm Date: 9/18/2013 1:50 AM
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So is Intel making the A7? If not, who is?

Probably Samsung: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7335/the-iphone-5s-review/2

First off, based on conversations with as many people in the know as possible, as well as just making an educated guess, it’s probably pretty safe to say that the A7 SoC is built on Samsung’s 28nm HK+MG process. It’s too early for 20nm at reasonable yields, and Apple isn’t ready to move some (not all) of its operations to TSMC.

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Author: DutchMark Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 54549 of 54611
Subject: Re: 22nm Date: 9/18/2013 3:00 PM
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Let's first of all see all these rumors for what they are: rumors.

Allegedly, a Samsung official expressed surprise on the 64-bit news, so that seems to indicate Samsung is not the producer. But even that is just a rumor.

The other rumor, some months old, is that the new Mac Pro was going to have a CPU based on Intel's 22nm technology. But it would be a bit of a stretch to believe Intel would let Apple call their 22nm tablet CPU "A7".

I can't see how you can make any meaningful investment decision on these rumors, so let's just wait and see.

Mark

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Author: 5761796E65 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 54550 of 54611
Subject: Re: 22nm Date: 9/18/2013 3:50 PM
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Allegedly, a Samsung official expressed surprise on the 64-bit news, so that seems to indicate Samsung is not the producer.

Why would that be the case? You can't tell from looking at the die if the registers are 32 or 64 bits. I suppose it would be possible for Samsung to reverse-engineer the design files.

Apple cannot afford a chip shortage. I don't think they would risk 22/20nm on their flagship phone. It's almost certainly 28nm.

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Author: DutchMark Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 54551 of 54611
Subject: Re: 22nm Date: 9/18/2013 5:38 PM
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"Allegedly, a Samsung official expressed surprise on the 64-bit news, so that seems to indicate Samsung is not the producer."

Why would that be the case? You can't tell from looking at the die if the registers are 32 or 64 bits. I suppose it would be possible for Samsung to reverse-engineer the design files.

Apple cannot afford a chip shortage. I don't think they would risk 22/20nm on their flagship phone. It's almost certainly 28nm.


I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here. Maybe you can't tell from the die if it's 32-bit or 64-bit, but if Apple says it's 64-bit why doubt that? And if Samsung produces the chip, they should certainly have known. Was it a clueless Samsung spokesman?

I agree Apple should try to avoid shortages, but that's not the definitive argument. And reportedly, Apple does have shortages in iPhone 5s supplies. So what does that tell us?

I have read someone pointing out that 22nm would be the only way Apple could have the required number of transistors on the die. I have not personally checked that information, but it seems a better base to go on than just say "it would be too risky".

If you have reason to believe Apple could have squeezed the required transistors on the die using 28nm, I'd be interested to hear it though.

Mark

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Author: HopJokey Three stars, 500 posts Ticker Guide Mission Olympia 2 Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 54552 of 54611
Subject: Re: 22nm Date: 9/18/2013 9:26 PM
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If I had to guess who manufacturers the A7 it would be TSMC.

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Author: RHinCT Big gold star, 5000 posts Ticker Guide SC1 Red Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 54553 of 54611
Subject: Re: 22nm Date: 9/18/2013 9:49 PM
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This post on another board links to an article with some speculation on the subject. It is long, and worth it.

http://boards.fool.com/hello-out-there-30871705.aspx

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Author: eachus Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 54554 of 54611
Subject: Re: 22nm Date: 9/21/2013 12:01 AM
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I have read someone pointing out that 22nm would be the only way Apple could have the required number of transistors on the die. I have not personally checked that information, but it seems a better base to go on than just say "it would be too risky".

Do the math, it isn't hard. 102 sq mm is 102 trillion sq nm. Divide by a billion or so, take the square root, and Apple has about 300x300 nm per transistor. Rule of (very rough) thumb, you need 8x the half-pitch in one dimension for a transistor, and there will be at least two or three different transistor widths that have to be supported. So 28 nm or even 32 nm makes perfect sense.

Note that the Apple is a SOC (system on chip) design, and has some analog areas as well as the CPUs and GPUs. But that is a relatively small portion of the chip.

Also notice that L2 and L3 cache can be laid down with greater density, and most layout programs for 'random' logic areas will leave some transistors sites unused and unpowered. It is much, much easier for the CD layers to have a regular layout than to customize for a hole here and a hole there. Since these transistors are not connected to the higher metal layers, they draw very little power. Some parasitic loads on the adjacent transistors, but it is again easier to have identical for all transistors in an array, than to compute the effects of having a hole.

No, the real surprise here, and kudos to Apple for managing it, is to get an ARMv8 64-bit chip in production--and with an operating system--this fast. Apple only has to support drivers for the devices in the iPhone 5s, But even with a small set of drivers, Apple is so far ahead of Microsoft in being able to 'just' recompile them. (It is never just but that is why you have so many software engineers.)

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Author: RHinCT Big gold star, 5000 posts Ticker Guide SC1 Red Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 54558 of 54611
Subject: Re: 22nm Date: 9/23/2013 1:09 PM
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But even with a small set of drivers, Apple is so far ahead of Microsoft in being able to 'just' recompile them. (It is never just but that is why you have so many software engineers.)

I always found just to be the most dangerous four-letter work in software development. 8-)

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Author: alan81 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 54559 of 54611
Subject: Re: 22nm Date: 9/23/2013 5:19 PM
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So is Intel making the A7? If not, who is?
Confirmed by chipworks that it is Samsung 28nm HKMG process.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7355/chipworks-provides-first-...

It looks like the A8 will be the first TSMC part built using a 20nm process and due late 2014.

BTW, Apple did an outstanding job with the A7 design achieving excellent performance/power for a 28nm process. Intel still has some catching up to do. Intel share holders are lucky Apple will not make this available to other tablet/phone makers. It looks like the Intel 22nm Bay Trail products will be competitive, but not the blow out I was hoping for.

Alan

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Author: 5761796E65 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 54560 of 54611
Subject: Re: 22nm Date: 9/24/2013 2:10 PM
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Apple did an outstanding job with the A7 design achieving excellent performance/power for a 28nm process.

Can anyone speculate on how much of the design is from Apple and how much is from ARM? How easily will the other ARM licensees be able to be in the same ballpark as Apple?

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Author: eachus Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 54561 of 54611
Subject: Re: 22nm Date: 9/25/2013 10:13 AM
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Can anyone speculate on how much of the design is from Apple and how much is from ARM? How easily will the other ARM licensees be able to be in the same ballpark as Apple?

This is an apples and oranges question. (Sorry.) There are some pretty nice features in the ARM64 design which allow chip designers to save a lot of power--or make the chip faster. Apple has done a very good job of balancing the two to get a nice solution.

But the big thing that Apple did was speed in getting both the chip and the software ready. I don't know how much of the software and firmware Apple is required to make open, or more important how much of the ARM64 OS code will be useful to others building Linux on other ARM64 chips.

But I do think that it is now pretty clear that ARM64 is a more efficient design than AMD64. Nothing against the AMD64 designers. Technology has improved a lot since then. It has both resulted in additional requirements for high-end chips (in particular security kernel support and guest OS support), and in different tradeoff parameters. So being able to turn off parts of the chip is now common, even in high-speed chips, and the ARM64 design maximizes the size of the areas that can be turned off.

Also renaming registers make increasing the number of integer registers inexpensive if not free. The live virtual registers need silicon, any inactive registers don't need silicon or power. The ARM64 ISA makes this a bit easier, but it also provides 30(+2) general purpose registers without instruction prefixes. Decoding AMD64 instructions at high speed is expensive in power and real-estate. Part of that cost is for folding in prefixes and eliminating instructions which do register moves. (Technically, if the software needs more than 16 registers, AMD64 code has to spill the registers to memory. Not all that expensive in time, because all high-end AMD64 chips will pull the value out of the write pipe if needed, or just recognize that it is still in a renaming register. But not having to do that for speed saves power.

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Author: TheDope1 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 54567 of 54611
Subject: Re: 22nm Date: 10/17/2013 2:22 PM
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Guys, it's Samsung's 28nm process.
http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/09/20/samsung-confirmed-...

Samsung's been their foundry for a number of years now.

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Author: 0gre Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 54568 of 54611
Subject: Re: 22nm Date: 10/17/2013 4:34 PM
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You are a bit slow, but no-one can complain about your accuracy.

(Someone pointed this out weeks ago)

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