Samsung will start production of 3nm-based chips in the first half of 2022

Shawn Knight

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In brief: Samsung provided an update on its process technology migration during its fifth-annual Samsung Foundry Forum digital event. The company is now scheduled to start producing the first 3nm-based chip designs for customers in the first half of 2022. The first 3nm Gate-All-Around (GAA) process node utilizing Multi-Bridge-Channel FET (MBCFET) will allow for up to a 35 percent decrease in area, 30 percent higher performance or 50 percent lower power consumption when compared to 5nm chips.

The company further noted that 3nm’s logic yield is approaching a similar level to that of 4nm, which is already in mass production.

Looking even further out, Samsung said its second-gen 3nm is now expected in 2023 and that its 2nm process note with MBCFET is currently in the early stages of development with mass production tentatively slated for 2025.

Samsung originally planned to have 3nm enter volume production in late 2021, but seemingly underestimated the difficulty level associated with shrinking down to such a small process. The ongoing chip shortage spurred by the global pandemic certainly didn’t help the situation, either.

On that front, Samsung said it is continuing to improve its FinFET process for cost-effective and application-specific use cases. The company highlighted its 17nm FinFET process, noting that it provides up to a 43 percent decrease in area, 39 percent higher performance or a 49 percent increase in power efficiency compared to the 28nm process.

Indeed, as the chip shortage lingers, many customers are turning to mature manufacturing processes to meet their needs. That may seem like a step in the wrong direction but the truth is, not all electronics require cutting-edge manufacturing techniques.

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