5GAppleARMCortex A78Cortex X1QualcommSnapdragon 875

Manufacturing of the Snapdragon 875 has started by TSMC using 5nm node

Even the X60 5G modem along with Apple's A14 bionic, and AMD's high end GPU will be built on TSMC's 5nm node

Qualcomm will be releasing it’s Snapdragon 875 chip by the end of this year. From what we can see, it looks like Qualcomm wasn’t affected by the COVID-19 and production of the new chip is on schedule. What’s even more interesting is that the new X60 modem is being developed, and the same is using TSMC 5nm process node.

TSMC 5nm Nodes

TSMC is in production of 3 different 5nm process nodes. The first is the normal 5nm, the second is 5nm+, and the third is 5nm enhanced. According to a report by Chinese site MyDrivers, Qualcomm’s flagship SoC along with the new X60 5G modem will be released on the normal 5nm process, and produced at the Nanke 18 plant in Taiwan. There were reports that TSMC will be manufacturing 5nm chips by late 2020, and this article confirms the reports.

There is no mention of which 5nm process node Qualcomm opted for, but TSMC’s Nanke 18 plant has received around 10% higher orders. This could translate to around 6,000 to 10,000 more orders of the 5nm process. This means that Qualcomm could be ramping up production of the Snapdragon 875 and the X60 5G modem. There are also reports of the iPhone 12 making use of the Qualcomm X60 modem too. So Qualcomm will need a lot of 5nm chips in this case.

Snapdragon X60 modem

The good thing about the new modem is that it can be integrated into the SoC(System on a Chip), or the Snapdragon 875 chip. It’s expected that the new modem will have a downlink of 7.5Gbps and Uplink of 3.5Gbps. That’s a 500Mbps extra from the X55 modem for both downlink and uplink.

Snapdragon 875 improvements

According to reports, the 875 will feature 1+3+4 configuration. They could most likely use the ARM Cortex X1 as the first core, 2x A78 cores after that, and 4xA55 cores for efficiency. According to a some reports, the Cortex X1 will be over 30% faster than the A77 in peak performance or use 50% less power usage at similar clock speeds. We have already made an article on the new ARM Cortex X1 and Cortex A78 cores here. The Snapdragon 875 will be using the latest Adreno 660 GPU.

Qualcomm is reported to be unveiling the Snapdragon 875 at the end of the third quarter which is September. But expect the chip to be released to phone manufacturers in the first quarter next year.

Apple, AMD and Huawei

Aside from the Snapdragon 875, TSMC will be manufacturing AMD’s Zen 4, RDNA3 GPU, along with Apple’s A14 Bionic. As reported above, the A14 Bionic will be using the Snapdragon X60 modem, and these will be available on the iPhone 12 come next year. We have reported on the iPhone 12. The article is here. It’s a surprise that AMD is using GPUs on the 5nm architecture that early. AMD Zen 4 will be released on the 5nm and will only be available in 2022. Nvidia will be hopping on the 5nm bandwagon with their Hopper GPUs. Hopper is a successor to Ampere. According to a report by GSMArena, TSMC has already produced plenty of 5nm wafers for Huawei Kirin 1000 and 1020 SoCs before the ban. These chps will be powering the Huawei Mate 40 which will launch in October this year.

Kiran Fernandes

Kiran is your friendly neighbourhood tech enthusiast who's passionate about all kinds of tech, goes crazy over 4G and 5G networks, and has recently sparked an interest in sci-fi and cosmology.

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