August 10, 2022

Samsung is the first to launch mass production of 3-nanometer chips

Samsung Electronics Co. has launched mass production of 3-nanometer chips that are more powerful and efficient than its predecessors, beating rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to a key milestone in the race to build the world’s most advanced chips.

South Korea’s largest company will start with 3nm semiconductors for high-performance and specialized low-power computing applications before moving on to mobile processors, it said in a statement Thursday. By applying the so-called Gate-All-Around transistor architecture, Samsung’s 3nm products reduce power consumption by up to 45% and improve performance by 23% compared to 5nm chips, he said. declared.

Shares of Samsung fell about 1% in Seoul on Thursday, in line with the benchmark KOSPI.

Samsung’s drive to be first to market with the latest technologies is key in its rise to match TSMC, which remains dominant in the contract chip manufacturing or foundry market. The Taiwanese company accounts for more than half of the global foundry business by revenue and is the exclusive supplier of Apple Inc.’s silicon processors for iPhone, iPad, MacBook and desktop Mac.

TSMC and Samsung are vying for large multi-year orders from Apple and Qualcomm Inc. The Taiwanese chipmaker’s 3nm mass production will begin in the second half of the year, TSMC said. Samsung will produce 3nm chips at its Hwaseong facility and is expected to expand production at its new Pyeongtaek factory.

“We will continue to actively innovate in the development of competitive technologies and build processes that help accelerate technology maturity,” said Siyoung Choi, president and head of Samsung’s foundry business.

“Samsung’s launch of 3nm node chip production, based on next-generation transistor architecture, is not expected to affect TSMC’s market share and sales growth over the next 12 months. Despite better performance, Samsung’s 3nm chip must demonstrate that it can be produced at the same cost-effective level as TSMC’s most advanced N3 process before it can secure new orders from Apple, Qualcomm and other majors. chip designers,” said Charles Shum, Bloomberg Intelligence. analyst.

Samsung’s move comes at a sensitive time for the semiconductor industry, whose place in the global geopolitical order is currently under scrutiny by major governments. The United States and China have both taken steps to bring more chipmaking capacity and expertise within their borders – arguing it’s a matter of national security – and Samsung is in the process. to set up a new manufacturing plant in Texas.

President Joe Biden visited Samsung’s Pyeongtaek factory last month and highlighted semiconductor alliances as part of his program to strengthen international supply chains and stem chip shortages while reducing dependence on China. Bloomberg

Image credits: Bloomberg