Samsung introduced it has begun mass manufacturing of elements primarily based on its 2nd era 10nm LPP course of node. It’s a major step for the corporate, which faces competitors from TSMC and GlobalFoundries for patrons who need cutting-edge semiconductor know-how.
As course of node progressions and the diploma of enchancment supplied by shifting from one node to the subsequent have slowed and shrunk respectively, it’s turn into extra frequent for foundries to separate their efficiency enhancements throughout a number of generations. Samsung’s first era of 10nm, 10nm LPE, supplied 27 p.c greater efficiency or 40 p.c decrease energy consumption in contrast with its 14nm predecessor. The brand new 10nm LPP course of is much less of a soar, with a 10 p.c efficiency enchancment or a 15 p.c energy discount in contrast with 10nm LPE elements.
“We can higher serve our clients by the migration from 10LPE to 10LPP with improved efficiency and better preliminary yield,” stated Ryan Lee, vp of Foundry Advertising at Samsung Electronics. “Samsung with its long-living 10nm course of technique will proceed to work on the evolution of 10nm know-how all the way down to 8LPP to supply clients distinct aggressive benefits for a variety of purposes.”
Samsung and its rival TSMC are taking considerably totally different paths with 10nm. TSMC has acknowledged it views 10nm as a short-lived node, whereas Samsung plans to maintain the know-how round for an extended time frame. There’s no “proper” reply to the query of learn how to navigate node transitions, significantly given the way in which node names now lack any goal that means past “Advertising says a brand new title is best.”
TSMC, GlobalFoundries, Samsung, and Intel have totally different outlined characteristic sizes on the similar node, with Intel sometimes providing smaller options than the pure-play foundries on the similar label. TSMC and Samsung’s 10nm, for instance, is anticipated to match Intel’s 14nm options, whereas Intel’s 10nm ought to be the equal of 7nm when the three rival foundries deploy it. There’s additionally some uncertainty in long-term roadmaps associated to EUV availability and the viability of utilizing triple or quadruple patterning for semiconductor designs; these options enable 193nm ArF lithography to etch options at such tiny scales, however additionally they drive up masks and subsequently SoC prices.
Samsung has additionally introduced its new fab, S3, is able to ramp up on 10nm manufacturing and, within the not-too-distant future, EUV integration as properly. The corporate can even construct an 8nm node with out EUV, to provide itself a migration path ahead if EUV integration doesn’t go properly.