At the “Samsung Foundry Forum 2021” event held on October 7, Samsung disclosed the technology roadmap for its foundry business. In addition to the new 17nm process, it was announced that the 3nm process will be mass-produced in the first half of 2022, and the more advanced 2nm process will be mass-produced in 2025.
In the advanced foundry market, although Intel has entered with a high profile, it still takes time to catch up with the first group. As the only manufacturer that can stand up against TSMC, Samsung’s move is extremely offensive.
Choi Si-young, president of Samsung’s foundry division, said: The new crown epidemic accelerates digitization, and Samsung’s customers and partners will be able to provide appropriate technologies at the right time to develop the unlimited potential of silicon applications. “We will provide comprehensive manufacturing capacity, maintain the leading position in the most advanced technology, and continue to refine technology at the application level.”
Launched a new 17nm process
At this forum, Samsung announced the launch of a new 17LPV process, the 17nm process of Low Power Value.
In fact, the 17LPV process is an evolution of the 28nm process. It combines the 28nm BEOL back-end process and the 14nm FEOL front-end process. That is, on the basis of the 28nm node, 14nm FinFET stereo transistors are added. Can enjoy the energy efficiency advantages of the latter.
Samsung claims that the 17LPV process can reduce the chip area by 43% compared to the traditional 28nm process, which can bring about 39% performance improvement or 49% power consumption reduction.
The mass production time of Samsung’s 17LPV process has not been stated, but Samsung has announced that its first service object is the ISP image signal processor, which belongs to Samsung’s own CMOS sensor product line.
In addition, Samsung also created a 14nm LPU process, Low Power Ultimate, but did not disclose the details. It may also be 28nm BEOL plus 14nm FEOL.
Mass production of 3nm in 2022
The potential of FinFET transistor structure has almost been tapped. In order to catch up with TSMC in semiconductor process technology, Samsung has taken the lead in introducing a new GAA (Gate-all-around) technology in the development of 3nm process, and plans to In the second half of 2021, it will lead TSMC in 3nm production.
Although in the first half of this year, Samsung announced that its 3nm GAA process has successfully taped out (Tape Out), but at the Samsung Foundry Forum event, Samsung stated that it is very difficult to transfer to the new GAA technology, and the 3nm process will be postponed until 2022. Mass production in half a year. Samsung’s 3nm process is also divided into two versions. Among them, 3GAE (low-power version) will be put into mass production in early 2022, and 3GAP (high-performance version) will be mass-produced in early 2023.
Compared with 5nm, Samsung’s new 3nm GAA can reduce the area by 35%, increase performance by 30% under the same power consumption, and reduce power consumption by 50% under the same performance.
2nm process or mass production in 2025
The 2nm process did not appear on the public roadmap, but MoonSoo Kang, senior vice president of Samsung’s foundry market strategy, revealed that the 2GAP process will be mass-produced in 2025.
This is the first time Samsung has revealed its 2nm process plan, but Samsung also warned that the progress of the new process will depend on the customer’s planning and deployment, so we speculate that 2026 may be a more reasonable time to see Samsung’s 2nm process products on the market.
TSMC’s 2nm process is expected to be mass-produced in 2024, leading Samsung by about a year.