Samsung’s 14nm FinFET production process, originally developed for its in-house built Exynos chips, has naturally drawn the attention of other chip makers as well. Qualcomm a fab-less semiconductor manufacturer has given responsibility of making its next powerhouse SoC the Snapdragon 820, to Samsung, using the same 14nm FinFET process intended for Samsung’s new Exynos 8 Octa chips.The process in question is actually a second generation FinFET, which delivers up to 15% higher speeds and roughly the same improvement in terms of power consumption over its predecessor. It is dubbed LPP(Low-Power Plus) and is an all-round improvement over last-years 14nm LPE process, despite the absence of a subsequent die shrink. This is achieved through the use of fully-depleted FinFET transistors, as well as numerous other improvements to transistor structure and process optimization.
This definitely levels out the playing field between Samsung and Qualcomm in their next-gen flagship chipsets, at least to some degree and is definitely beneficial to users in the grand scheme of things, enabling new more powerful and less power hungry devices.
However, it still leaves plenty of room for competition in other aspects, most-notably processor cores architecture. After sticking with standard ARM cores for a while, Samsung has turned to a custom-core solution with the Exynos 8890. Qualcomm has also returned to a custom-core solution with the Snapdragon 820.