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Digitimes Research: Samsung eager to snatch 14nm A9 chip orders from Apple

Betty Shyu, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei [Friday 13 September 2013]

Samsung Electronics has put its R&D focus on 14nm FinFET process development, looking to snatch A9 chip orders from Apple, according to Digitimes Research.

Apple is believed to have informed Samsung about not placing orders for 20nm A8, said Digitimes Research. The South Korea-based firm is still making other processors, including the new A7 chip, for Apple.

Apple remains Samsung's biggest foundry customer. Therefore, losing the opportunity of supplying A8 chips to Apple may result in some idle capacity that Samsung may have to fill starting mid-2014, Digitimes Research indicated.

To avoid the risk of idle capacity, Samsung is aggressively pursuing new customers, including Qualcomm and Nvidia, Digitimes Research said.

Samsung currently has four plants engaged in the manufacture of non-memory ICs with a combined monthly capacity of about 110,000 12-inch wafers. Its plant in Austin, US produces 40,000 wafers a month.

In addition, Samsung has resumed the construction of its Line-17 fab in Hwaseong, South Korea, which was put off previously. The new logic fab is expected to kick off volume production between the end of 2013 and early-2014, Digitimes Research said.

Samsung's planned Line-17 fab will mainly produce advanced 20nm and 14nm chips, and bring in an additional 50,000 12-inch wafers in capacity per month, Digitimes Research noted.

This article is an excerpt from a Chinese Digitimes Research report. Click here if you are interested in receiving more information about the content and price of a translated version of the full report.


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