Although chipset manufacturers have barely started shipping out handsets powered by processors based on the 10nm production node like the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Samung’s Exynos 8895, Apple’s A11 Fusion, Huawei’s Kirin 970 and MediaTek’s own Helio X30 the Taiwan based chipset designer, Mediatek has already started risk production of its next generation of solutions based on TSMC’s 7nm node. Sources close to TSMC, MediaTek’s fabrication partner had disclosed earlier,
TSMC will enter risk production for a MediaTek chip on the newer 7nm process in the second quarter, said the sources, adding that the SoC incorporates 12 CPU cores.
Even as reports are coming in from other sources that the company has faced yield issues for the Helio X30 based on TSMC’s 10nm manufacturing node apart from most of its partners switching to Qualcomm chips in their smartphones. MediaTek remains bullish that it will resolve the yield issue and this shall not affect any of its prior commitments.
MediaTek had unveiled the Helio X30 deca-core towards the end of February stating that it has entered serial production and smartphones powered by the chipset should be arriving sometime in Q2 of 2017.
Here’s some information about why the “nm” in processor matter. Nanometer in CPUs specify the distance between two transistors connected in sequence. To improve the performance of a processor data from one transistor to next should be available as soon as possible which results in higher processing speed due to less time delay. The logic here is that the speed of light in vacuum is 3×10^8m/s, we cannot exceed this limit. So, if the signal is traveling even at this speed it has to cover some distance, lesser the distance less will be the time delay. So, if we reduce the distance between two consecutive transistors we can get higher processing speed due to reduce time delays.
Here’s what John Biggs, the co-founder of ARM says,
I can’t see any reason for the ordinary person to care about nanometers. If you’re buying a car, you’re looking for practical and tangible benefits, not technology for technology’s sake. The same applies when you buy a phone: you want a long battery life and the processing power that you need. Transistor size is just a means to an end.
Would you prefer Mediatek over Snapdragon after this 7nm technology? As far as reports are concerned, Snapdragon offers much better battery & updates over Mediatek processors. What do you think?