Quick Turn Teardown of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3

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    Teardown of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3

    Samsung announced their Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear on September 4th 2013. The scheduled release date to 148 countries was September 25th, while North America and Japan would only be released in October. That being said, TechInsights has acquired the Galaxy Note 3 N9005 with 3G & LTE connectivity and the teardown is underway. Stay tuned for teardown sequence photos, board shots, component identifications and estimated bill of materials.


    Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    • Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 Baseband / Applications Processor
    • Samsung K3QF7F70DM-QGCE SDRAM Memory
    • Qualcomm PM8841 Power Management
    • Qualcomm PM8941 Power Management
    • Qualcomm WTR1605L GSM/CDMA/W-CDMA/LTE RxD Transceiver + GPS
     
    Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    • Samsung KLMBG4GEAC-B001 32 GB NAND Flash
    • Qualcomm WCD9320 17500 Audio Codec

     


    Samsung Galaxy Note 3: The Original Phablet Continues to Set the Bar

    In 2011 Samsung defined a new category with its 5.3” diagonal Galaxy Note phone. The original Note was so large it was considered by many as a phone that aspired to be a tablet; hence the term “phablet” was coined. The Galaxy Note’s monstrous screen was so out of place in the phone marketplace that the competition didn’t event mount a comparable rebuttal for nearly 12 months. Now nearly every manufacture offers a 5+ inch device, but all still struggle to unseat the category leader.

    With the 3rd iteration of the Galaxy Note, Samsung has refused to add kitschy features; rather it has focused on improving the human interaction elements in using this device as an all-in-one communications device. First off the ‘S-Pen’ continues to be linked into more of the embedded Samsung software and features while the new Galaxy Watch (teardown coming shortly) promises further improvements on how the user interacts with the devices proven functionality.

    This TechInsights teardown isn’t about the software updates; rather our interest continues to lie under the hood. And with that in mind we crack open the Galaxy Note 3 to examine the horsepower needed to bring all these features to bear for the device’s user.

    Teardown Highlights and Initial Cost Estimates

    TechInsights initial bill of material costs for the Galaxy Note 3 amount to US$237.50. This is an increase of nearly $20 over the costs of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 HSPA device. We estimate this increase in cost is directly related to the improved (and larger display module of 5.7” versus the previous version at 5.5”) and the usage of the Qualcomm MSM8974 baseband/applications processor. Other significant improvements are also noted in the NAND and SDRAM where the amount of memory has increased by 100% and 50% respectively.

    To provide a reference of how the Galaxy Note 3 compares, we have included a comparative view against the previous generation (Galaxy Note 2 (2012)) and the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE smart phone.

    Comparison of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with Galaxy S4 LTE and Galaxy Note 2 HSPA Devices

    Comparison of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with Galaxy S4 LTE and Galaxy Note 2 HSPA Devices

    Major Design Wins

    TechInsights has noted design wins from the following integrated circuit manufactures. The following are highlighted in the board shots we have gathered from the device.

    Comparison of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with Galaxy S4 LTE and Galaxy Note 2 HSPA Devices

    Processor: Qualcomm still the benchmark solution

    Qualcomm secures the baseband/applications processor design within the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with the Snapdragon 800, package MSM89747AB.

    Comparing die photos and die marks, the MSM8974 looks identical to the one TechInsights has previously analyzed (although the previous device was marked “2012”, with this one marked “2013”).

    Qualcomm Compare

    Additional information on the Qualcomm range of processors with detailed process and technical analysis can be found at:

    Logic Detailed Structural Analysis of the Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 SoC

    IC Design Overview of the Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 Processor

    Memory: Samsung packages twin stacks of LPDDR3 DRAM

    From the x-ray image, we can see Samsung’s packaging solution for 3 GB of LPDDR3. You can see the two stacks of three dice, each wire bonded to the memory substrate. Although there is still plenty of talk about moving to TSV solutions for mobile DRAM, we can see here that wire bonding is still a viable solution.

    Die Photo

    Package Photo

    Xray Photo

    Die size is 6.53 mm x 6.08 mm = 39.7 mm2 and the Die mark is K4E4E324ED

    Addition information on the Samsung range of LPDDR3 DRAM can be found at:

    CircuitVision Analysis of All of the Circuitry on the Samsung K3QF2F200C-XGCE 16 GBit LPDDR3 SDRAM

    Display: Better images are ‘PenTile’-tasic

    The reason this phone is special is because of its screen. The original Galaxy Note measured 5.3” diagonally, the Galaxy Note 2 measured 5.5”, and the latest iteration stands tall at 5.7” of Super AMOLED beauty.

    As seen in our teardown of the Galaxy S4, the Super AMOLED display is no longer an RGB matrix, but rather Samsung’s PenTile. More on Changing Display technologies in leading smartphones can be found in TechInsights Display Research reports. Without going into the specifics on the PenTile, the focus of Samsung with this new display technology has been to further develop the rendering of photos, videos, and screen input data while at the same time further reducing power consumption.

    Super AMOLED pixel dimensions, front view

    Super AMOLED pixel dimensions, front view

    Super AMOLED circuit layout, back view

    Super AMOLED circuit layout, back view

    Addition information on the Samsung AMOLED display technology can be found at:

    A CircuitVision Report of the Peripheral and Pixel TFT Circuitry for the AMOLED Display in the Samsung SG-1747 Galaxy SIII Smartphone

    CircuitVision Analysis of S6E37G0X01 AMOLED Driver Circuit used in Samsung GT-I91000 Galaxy SII Smartphone

    The Bill of Materials Cost: Solid margins for Category Leader in a growth market

    Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 retails for US$699.00 but TechInsights Teardown costing estimates that the production of each device is less than US$240.00. Our pricing research shows that the display module and baseband processor making up the largest components of cost. This reflects a healthy margin for the industry’s leading phablet device.

    This is number translates into the potential for significant revenues for Samsung as the Galaxy Note 2 shipped ~28 million devices and combined with sales of the original Galaxy Note shipments have reached around 38 million. In fact the CEO of Samsung, J.K. Shin has said, “Galaxy Note 1 and Galaxy Note 2 were sold for a total of over 38 million. We believe Galaxy Note 3 will outdo its predecessors.”

    The Bill of Materials Cost

    * Costing is at time of teardown. Galaxy Note III is an estimate only since the device has not been fully analysed - final estimate is expected to be different

    More to come….

    TechInsights will continue its teardown of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 over the coming days. Please keep checking back for the latest analysis and images of the camera module, display module, S-Pen, and more.

    For more information on previous Samsung devices please check out the following:

    Deep Dive Teardown of the Samsung Galaxy Note II GT-N7100

    Survey Teardown of the Samsung Galaxy Note GT-I9220

    Full Product Teardown Report on the Samsung Note Cellular Phone

    Samsung GALAXY S4 Teardown : Board & Chip Shots and Teardown Images

    Applications/Baseband Processor Design Win – Qualcomm MSM8974

    Manufactured in TSMC’s 28 nm HPM process, the MSM8974 is the new flagship applications/baseband processor from Qualcomm. Marketed as the ‘Snapdragon 800’, it features four processor cores and an LPDDR3 interface. It has design wins with several high-end smart phones, including Samsung’s Galaxy S4 LTE-A and now the Galaxy Note 3 N9005 LTE. With fierce direct competition from Nvidia and vertically integrated vendors like Apple, Qualcomm continues to push the limits of performance through architectural changes and the use of advanced process nodes/

    MSM8974  

     
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