“One variant of the A9 is manufactured in TSMC’s 16-nanometer FinFET Plus manufacturing process while the other is built in a Samsung 14-nanometer process (a reliable source tells me that Samsung is likely using its more advanced 14-nanometer LPP process, rather than its lower-performing LPE process, here),” Ashraf Eassa writes for The Motley Fool. “Although Samsung got a lot of positive press for going into production on its 14-nanometer process before TSMC did on its roughly equivalent 16-nanometer process, I believe that Apple would have been better served relying on TSMC exclusively for the A9.”
“Both the Samsung and the TSMC processes feature minimum metal pitches of 64nm, but Samsung’s gate pitches are a little tighter at 78 nanometers versus 90 nanometers in the TSMC process. Unsurprisingly, the TSMC-built A9 chip is slightly larger than the Samsung-built A9 chip,” Eassa writes. “However, although the Samsung process is denser, the TSMC process is superior in the ways that count: electrical performance and yields … In fact, that same source informed me that TSMC’s A9 yields are twice those of Samsung’s, which would suggest that it is more cost effective for Apple to build A9 chips at TSMC than at Samsung.”
“A report recently surfaced claiming that TSMC has won the entirety of Apple’s next-generation A10 applications processor business. According to my source, this report is accurate,” Eassa writes. “Quite frankly, given that the TSMC 16-nanometer FinFET Plus process appears to be delivering better power consumption and yields, this is not at all surprising.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: The problem, and Apple’s mistake, is in how this treats the iPhone customer (and, presumably the iPad customer, too). Apple is effectively subjecting customers to a random lottery drawing. Some customers get superior iPhones and some get inferior iPhones. All at the same price via unmarked boxes. This is wrong.
Apple should have higher regard for their customers and Apple customers should expect better from Apple.
Claiming a 3% discrepancy in “real world usage” also does not address the core issue. Take time-lapse recording, a feature Apple builds into their iPhones and promotes. Here’s how an iPhone 6s performs when recording a long video – again, “real world usage” via a feature that Apple promotes – with a TSMC-stamped A9 vs. a Samsung-stamped A9:
Apple claims iPhone 6s/Plus’ A9 battery performance only varies 2-3% between TSMC and Samsung variants in ‘real-world usage’ – October 8, 2015
Chipgate: Did you get the good A9 or the crap A9 in your iPhone 6s/Plus? – October 8, 2015
[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]