[News] Samsung Secures 2-Nanometer Order from Japanese AI Startup Preferred Networks

2024-02-16 Semiconductors editor

It was reported earlier that during Samsung Electronics’ fourth-quarter financial announcement in 2023, the company revealed that its foundry division had secured orders for 2-nanometer AI chips. However, at the time, Samsung did not disclose the name of the relevant customer. Now, according to a report from the Business Korea, the customer is the Japanese AI startup Preferred Networks.

The report indicates that Preferred Networks, which placed an order with Samsung’s foundry division for 2-nanometer AI chips, was founded in 2014 and is in the field of AI deep learning development.

The company has attracted significant investments from major Japanese industrial enterprises such as Toyota, NTT, and Fanuc. The order placed with Samsung’s foundry division for 2-nanometer AI chips also includes HBM and advanced packaging.

As per Samsung’s previous roadmap, the 2-nanometer SF2 process is set to debut in 2025. Compared to the second-generation 3GAP process at 3 nanometers, it offers a 25% improvement in power efficiency at the same frequency and complexity, as well as a 12% performance boost at the same power consumption and complexity, while reducing chip area by 5%.

As stated in Samsung’s Foundry Forum (SFF) plan, Samsung will begin mass production of the 2nm process (SF2) in 2025 for mobile applications, expand to high-performance computing (HPC) applications in 2026, and further extend to the automotive sector and the expected 1.4nm process by 2027.

According to previous reports, the leading foundry TSMC has already disclosed the test results of its 2-nanometer prototype process to major clients such as Apple and NVIDIA, with the goal of commencing mass production by 2025. Apple is set to become TSMC’s inaugural customer for the 2-nanometer process, positioning TSMC at the forefront of competition in the 2-nanometer advanced process technology.

However, according to a previous report from the Financial Times, Samsung is preparing to attract customers to place orders for its 2-nanometer process at lower prices. The move is expected to compete for a portion of Qualcomm’s flagship chip production, as Qualcomm, a major customer of TSMC, may consider shifting some of its flagship chip production to Samsung’s 2-nanometer process.

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(Photo credit: Samsung)

Please note that this article cites information from Business Korea and Financial Times.