Samsung working on custom 64-bit processor core


— 10:31 AM on November 6, 2013

During an analyst event in South Korea, Samsung unveiled plans for some interesting new mobile technologies. The audio and slides for all the event's presentations are available online, and there's a lot of analyst-focused information to wade through to get to the juicy tech details. Here are the highlights.

The biggest revelation is that Samsung is working on a custom CPU core. The core will be 64-bit, and it should be ARM-compatible like the custom cores in the latest Qualcomm and Apple SoCs. There's no timeline for its arrival, though. Samsung will apparently adopt ARM's existing 64-bit core before rolling out a custom solution of its own.

Although Samsung didn't discuss other details about its custom core, it did reveal some interesting information on through-silicon via (TSV) technology that allows memory and logic circuitry to be stacked on the same package. Samsung says it has "a real chip" that uses TSV and is running "all the software." That chip offers 14% better memory performance than LPDDR3 with 60% lower power consumption, the company says, and the next generation is supposed to boost the performance advantage to 30%. TSV makes a lot of sense for mobile processors, and I'm curious to see how quickly the tech can be deployed in Samsung SoCs.

After discussing TSV and its custom ARM core, Samsung touted the benefits of its 14-nm FinFET fabrication process. The company didn't connect the dots between those technologies, but another slide confirms that Samsung will begin producing SoCs using its 14-nm FinFET process starting next year.

In other semiconductor-related news, Samsung revealed that its 3D V-NAND flash memory is coming to client SSDs next year. The vertically stacked NAND is already shipping in an enterprise-class drive, and it's scheduled to hit mobile devices in 2015.

On the display front, Samsung is promising 560-PPI smartphone screens for next year. It looks like those screens will be a little larger than 5" and boast 2560x1440 display resolutions. 4K smartphone displays are expected in 2015, so PPI records will continue to be shattered.

The roadmap above suggests that foldable displays will arrive by 2016. "Technology barriers" appear to be in the way, but there's apparently nothing stopping Samsung from releasing "bended" displays next year. It's unclear what differentiates the bent displays from the curved screen of the Galaxy Round.

   
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