[News] Progress and Adoption of Advanced Processes by Samsung, Intel, and TSMC

2023-10-27 Semiconductors editor

In recent developments, Samsung Foundry, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, has disclosed that it has initiated discussions with major chip clients, gearing up to provide services utilizing 1.4nm and 2nm processes.

It’s been said that Samsung being ahead in the production of 3nm GAA (gate-all-around) process, yet not as favored by major clients as TSMC. In response to the comment, Ki-tae Jeong, the CTO of Samsung Foundry, had share his insights at Semiconductor Expo 2023 in South Korea.

According to the Chosun Ilboon’s report, Jeong pointed out that in the semiconductor foundry industry, it typically takes approximately 3 years for major clients to make their final purchasing decisions. Samsung is actively engaging with prominent clients, and results may become evident in the coming years. Also, the company is currently discussing future processes such as 2nm and 1.4nm with major clients.

How are advanced semiconductor processes progressing?

Compared to mature processes, advanced processes are better suited for applications that demand high performance and low power consumption. With emerging technologies like AI and high-performance computing driving the industry, the demand for advanced processes continues to rise. Leading semiconductor companies are committed to developing new technologies, with chip advanced processes evolving from 5nm to 4nm and now down to 3nm, while looking ahead to the possibility of reaching 2nm and 1.4nm.

Current progress from major players:

Samsung has already commenced mass production of its second-generation 3nm chips and aims to introduce the 2nm process by the end of 2025, with the 1.4nm process expected by the end of 2027.

TSMC is planning to start production for N3P in the latter half of 2024, with N3X and the 2nm process set to enter mass production in 2025. TSMC will introduce Gate-all-around FETs (GAAFET) transistors for the first time at the 2nm process node, offering a 15% speed increase at the same power consumption and up to a 30% reduction in power consumption at the same speed, all while increasing chip density by more than 15%.

Intel is diligently pursuing its “Four Years, Five Nodes” plan. Presently, Intel 7 and Intel 4 are in mass production, and the Intel 3 process is expected to enter the readiness for production stage in the latter half of this year. Subsequently, Intel 20A and 18A processes are planned to enter the readiness for production stage in the first and second halves of 2024, respectively.

Moreover, industry experts believe that in the near term, Intel will focus on the Intel 3 process as its flagship offering in the advanced process semiconductor foundry sector to compete with TSMC, Samsung, and other players.