Patent knowledge. Technology expertise. Market understanding.

Patent knowledge. Technology expertise. Market understanding.

Patent knowledge. Technology expertise. Market understanding.

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Inside the Samsung Galaxy SIII


Inside the Samsung Galaxy SIII – Something old, something new…

We’re trying something a little different this time around. We are publishing this teardown live with iFixit. We’ll keep our usual slant on some of the die while they will be looking at issues of repair-ability. We have had this phone on pre-order with several suppliers and given some of the delivery challenges we have been hearing, we got lucky when it arrived a couple of hours ago.


The Samsung Galaxy S III GT I9300 is Samsung’s newest flagship smart phone – a phone that, according to their marketing literature, has been “designed for humans”, which is a good thing since they group the phones features around concepts of “intelligence”, “sharing”, “greatness”, and “enhancements” – all things we humans tend to favor. For those primates that prefer bananas, we presume that they mean there is another (harder to use) phone for you out there.

On the hardware specification side, the phone features a huge Super AMOLED display, a powerful new processor, support for all of the latest communications protocols, an 8 megapixel camera and 11 hours of talk time. The battery is that variant with the NFC antenna built into it.

The variant we are tearing down here is not the LTE version.  We are expecting that in our labs next week and will update things when we get it.



Board view and a look at something new – the applications processor

At right we are showing the board front and back (click to zoom).

The applications processor is the Samsung Exynos 4412, 32 nm CMOS, 1.4 GHz quad core ARM processor. The Exynos is in a standard PoP (Package-on-Package) assembly with a Samsung LP DDR2 Green Memory K3PE7E700M-XGC2.

It is notable that this is the same process generation as we documented in the Apple A5 rev 2, APL2498, also fabricated by Samsung and for which you can see the general structure.

This device is benchmarking extremely high as you can see in this Slashgear report. So something new, and good, for the Android phone community.

Storage (and other) memory is courtesy of the Samsung KMVTU000LM which is a multi-chip Samsung MOVI N and memory module.




Samsung 32 nm Process General Structure

Supporting a plethora of communications standards
Borrowing from the last generation Galaxy S II is the Intel Wireless PMB9811X Gold Baseband that was also used in the Samsung Galaxy S II. On the WIFI side of things, located in the Murata module with the part number  KM2322007 (more on this later when we discuss the BCM4330).Near-field communications courtesy of the NXP PN544 NFC Chip.

Skyworks scores two more big wins with their SKY77604 Multi-Mode / Multi-Band Power Amplifier and the SKY13397 RF Switch.

You see a lot of technology from companies like Skyworks due to the huge number of bands that are supported.  As mentioned in the introduction, we will be getting an LTE version of this phone next week and will update a teardown with a more comprehensive story on the wireless chips.



MEMS Devices – ST loses a socket to….itself.

ST has been on a bit of a role lately with its accelerometers and gyroscopes.  We’ve seen others from Bosch and Invensense (for example) but nobody so often and in so many flagship electronics as ST. However, this time around this Samsung phone eliminates a socket by using ST’s combination sensor, the LSM330DLC 3D accelerometer and 3D gyroscope. We would assume that the cost per chip for this combi-sensor is higher than each individual sensor alone and lower than both together. Nonetheless, it is nice to see market leaders continuing to innovate.

The electronic compass is also from one of the leaders in their respective spaces, the AKM8975 Electronic Compass.

Summary of other silicon catalogued at the time of publication

Sony 8 Mp 1.4 µm back-illuminated primary (rear facing) image sensor. Our preliminary analysis shows this to also be a new sensor – more to come.

Clarification added June 4, 2012 – we have seen some reports suggesting that we found it to be the same sensor as found in the iPhone 4S.  The bond pad arrangement is not the same as the IMX145 found in the iPhone4S nor is it the same as the IMX105 found in previous Samsung phones. The initial opinion (subject to more analysis) is that the sensor is new.

Melfas 8PL533 Touch Screen Controller. This new one, according to package markings, is going in for depot, but for reference we are showing the “8PK” version taken from the Galaxy SII at right.

Other chips of note:

Wolfson WM1811AE Audio Codec

Maxim Max77686 Power Management IC (similar chip with different markings found in the SII)

Maxim Max 77693 is a multifunctional device including PMIC, MUIC, flash LED control (similar chip with different markings in the SII).

Audience 305B voice processor from their “earSmart” line.

Silicon Image Inc 9244Bo MHL Transmitter

STMicroelectronics  STOD13 AMOLED Display Driver



Welcome all to the Broadcom BCM4334

(update added to blog July 13, 2012 to correct an original error identifying the chip as the BCM4330)

Broadcom is the established leader in 802.11 combination chips.  These devices have been throwing everything but the kitchen sink into them in terms of wireless support, and it is becoming harder and harder to classify what they are. In this case, we will use Broadcom’s own name and refer it to the “Single-Chip Dual-Band Combo Device Supporting 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0+HS & FM Receiver” or SCDBCDS8BHSFMR for short. Its main competitors include Qualcomm with its Atheros devices, and Texas Instruments with its WiLink family.

Given that the Apple community made a big deal about its debut in the next iPhone it is a bit of a coup that we first saw it in a Samsung phone.

What is most impressive about this chip is that we found it in a downstream product only one month after it was announced.  This is almost unheard of in the world of big silicon companies and long supply chains.  It either suggests that Broadcom has been very good at keeping secrets or that they are extremely efficient at releasing new advanced technology.  Either way, it is a good thing for the company.

Broadcom disclosed that the design refinements (versus the BCM4330) reduced power 40-50% and dramatically reduced standby power by 3 orders of magnitude. What we measured is impressive die shrink from 26.01 mm2 for the BCM4330 to 18.32 mm2 for the BCM4334.

On the right you will see the Murata module, the package, and a low res version of the die (sorry but you need to visit the store for high resolution).

murata-module
KM2308014 with BCM4334
BCM4334 Die Photo - Low Res

Reports on Devices or Technology Mentioned in this Teardown

Apple A5 – 32 nm Samsung Process Functional Analysis Report

NXP PN544 NFC Device Circuit Analysis Report

Broadcom BCM4330 WLAN Chip Functional Analysis Report

Broadcom BCM4334 WLAN Chip Functional Analysis Report

Samsung K3PE7E700M Low Power DRAM Circuit and Process Analysis