How TSMC Won Back Exclusivity With Apple for the A10 Chip in iPhone 7

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Apr 12, 2001
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Last year, MacRumors covered the potential reasoning for Apple's rumored return to having a single partner for Apple A-series chip production with the A10 after having both Samsung and TSMC produce versions of the Apple A9.

Since then, TSMC confirmed in conference call comments that its chip packaging changes have led to improvements of 20 percent in both speed and packaging thickness and 10 percent in thermal performance. This has a number of implications for future device performance and future foundry partner selection for Apple.

First, it is helpful to understand why InFO-WLP (Integrated Fan-Out Wafer-Level Packing) is such an important development for Apple's mobile processors. Typically, chips as large as CPUs or mobile SoCs have been attached via "flip-chip" methods which attach an array of inputs and outputs to a package substrate via solder bumps, ultimately enabling it to be attached to a printed circuit board (PCB) for device integration.

From the start, this is a compromise, as it would be preferable to attach a silicon die directly to the PCB to minimize height and reduce the lengths of interconnects between components. A number of technical limits in areas such as interconnect pitch, board produceability, and damage due to board warpage typically prevent this direct attachment.

The above problem had previously been circumvented for smaller I/O count components with a similar concept called Fan-In Wafer-Level Packing, where smaller dies are allowed to route their inputs and outputs in an area roughly the same area as the die. TSMC is just one of many companies beginning to enable this concept for larger I/O count devices in such a way that allows high volume, acceptable yields, and an acceptable cost.


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Article Link: How TSMC Won Back Exclusivity With Apple for the A10 Chip in iPhone 7
 

Zirel

Suspended
Jul 24, 2015
2,196
3,008
Alternative story: They aren't called Samsung.

Chips are made from inexpensive materials: sand, most of the chip's price come from the actual design of the circuit (that Apple does by themselves), and the R&D investment necessary to achieve even better technologies (lower nanometers), by using TSMC, Apple is returning that investment to TSMC, making life harder for Samsung.
 

jrlcopy

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2007
469
270
Alternative story: They aren't called Samsung.

Chips are made from inexpensive materials: sand, most of the chip's price come from the actual design of the circuit (that Apple does by themselves), and the R&D investment necessary to achieve even better technologies (lower nanometers), by using TSMC, Apple is returning that investment to TSMC, making life harder for Samsung.
Yeah.. that's basically it. Not Samsung.
 
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djcerla

macrumors 68000
Apr 23, 2015
1,810
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Can I get a "Logic Pro X machine" with a beefed up version of this?

I'm only using the MBP for Logic lately and the cores of the i7 get used in a very unbalanced way. A powerful 2-core would kill it, even with lower multicore score.
 

realeric

macrumors 65816
Jun 19, 2009
1,062
1,319
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Samsung's chip is really suck. My previous iPhone 6s had TSMC's chip and battery lasted for 8~10 hours. After replacing it with a refurbished one because of reception issues, I found new one had Samsung's chip. Battery doesn't last more than 4~6 hours now. I'm doomed.
 
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JackZah

macrumors newbie
Aug 10, 2016
10
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It's the most significant SoC advance in a decade. The overall performance of the system will be many fold greater. We're looking at a huge reduction in power between major components with a similar large increase in both communications speed and bandwidth. There will be absolutely no way Apple will be able to not infringe upon Mactel performance and promises a major shift in computing to mobile, obsoleting the need for Intel Processors in most of Apple's devices, dare I say even Mac...
 

mtneer

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2012
2,894
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I thought TC was the supply chain God at Apple. Isn't this deal locking up the most important component of his biggest cash cow product with a single source vendor?
 

Frozonecold

macrumors 6502
Mar 23, 2005
281
4
So this does have a number of cool advantages, but I have to wonder if it's really going to give them much of a leg up on Samsung. The Galaxy S7 uses a 14nm process CPU already, whereas this is a 16nm process. Still has other advantages, but I don't expect the improvements to be that significant.
 

now i see it

macrumors 603
Jan 2, 2002
5,368
10,872
I wonder what the size and performance would be if a thousand A10 chips were built into a 3D render farm. It'd probably be the size of the old Mac Pro and scream.
 
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