Samsung beats TSMC for mass production of 3nm chips

Samsung 3nm wafer photo

Samsung employees hold 3nm wafers on the production line of Samsung Electronics Hwaseong Campus
PhotoSamsung

Samsung has crossed the 3nm finish line for TSMC, beating the Apple supplier for the production of 3 nanometer chips. With that, Samsung is now on pace to release the most advanced chips in the world. According to Samsung, the new manufacturing process is 45% more energy efficient and delivers 23% better performance than the previous 5nm process.

These gains are achieved using a process called Gate-All-Around Transistor Architecture (GO FET), an update on FinFET, on a surface that is 16% smaller than before. Samsung said the process would be used for “high performance, low power computing” with mobile processors coming later, and that a second-generation 3nm process will reduce power consumption by 50% and improve performance by 30% on a 35 % smaller area.

Samsung GAAFET Chart

Samsung GAAFET
ImageSamsung

By being the first to hit the market, Samsung demonstrates Samsung’s position as a progressive chip manufacturer. However, the Korean tech giant still has a long way to go to prove itself against TSMC, the Taiwanese chipmaker that dominates the market share and produces the chips for Apple’s iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and Macs, plus necessities wafers to fabulous semiconductor companies such as Nvidia and AMD. TSMC currently accounts for more than half of the global foundry business measured by revenue, Bloomberg reports:

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

Although it is an important milestone for Samsung, the production of 3nm chips is unlikely to have much impact on TSMC in the next 12 months, Bloomberg said. The Galaxy smartphone maker will first have to demonstrate that it can produce with the same cost efficiency as its rival before companies come to ask for its chips.

Samsung and TSMC are currently battling for multi-year deals with Apple and Qualcomm, two megatech companies waiting to mass-produce 3nm chips that could improve the performance of existing products while enabling new technologies. Samsung will manufacture these chips in South Korea at its Hwaseong facilities before expanding to Pyeongtaek. The company is currently building a factory in Texas, where it could spend more than $10 billion on 3nm c. to produceHips.

Achieving 3nm is a small win, but with TSMC, the large-scale production of 2nm technology in 2025with chips coming in 2026, Samsung will have to keep its foot on the pedal to have any chance of overtaking its fiercest competitor.

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