In the race to make the most advanced chips in the world, Samsung Electronics Co. beat their competitor Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to a key milestone by starting mass production of 3-nanometer chips, which are more powerful and efficient than their predecessors.
According to a statement released by the country’s most successful business on Thursday, the company will first work on developing 3nm semiconductors for high-performance and specialized low-power computing applications before moving on to mobile processors. Samsung says that using Gate-All-Around transistor architecture in its 3nm products cuts power use by up to 45 percent and improves performance by 23 percent compared to 5nm chips.
On Thursday, Samsung shares in Seoul fell by approximately 1 percent, in line with the performance of the KOSPI benchmark.
It is important for Samsung to catch up to TSMC, which continues to lead the market for contract chipmaking, also called the foundry market, and for Samsung to do everything it can to be the first to market with the newest technology. The only company that makes Apple Inc.’s Silicon processors for its iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and desktop Mac PCs is a Taiwanese company. It makes up more than half of the money made by the foundry business around the world.
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Customers have been able to perfect their product in a shorter amount of time thanks to the proven design infrastructure that Samsung Electronics has been providing since the third quarter of 2021. This infrastructure has been provided by Samsung Electronics through extensive preparation with Samsung Advanced Foundry Ecosystem (SAFE) partners such as Ansys, Cadence, Siemens, and Synopsys.
TSMC and Samsung are in a fierce battle to get big orders from companies like Apple and Qualcomm Inc. that last for more than one year. The announcement from TSMC says that mass production of chips made with a 3nm process node will start in the second half of this year. After starting to make 3nm chips at its Hwaseong facilities, Samsung is likely to eventually start making them at its newest fab in Pyeongtaek as well.
“We will continue active innovation in competitive technology development and build processes that help expedite achieving maturity of technology.”Said Siyoung Choi, president and head of Samsung’s foundry business,
Samsung’s progress comes at a dangerous time for the semiconductor industry, whose place in the current international geopolitical order is being looked at by the world’s top governments. Both the U.S. and China have taken steps to make more chips and chip-making expertise available within their own borders. They say this is important for their national security. Samsung is also in the process of setting up a new manufacturing plant in Texas.
Last month, Vice President Joe Biden visited the Samsung plant in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. While he was there, he talked about how important semiconductor alliances were to his plan to improve international supply chains, make them less dependent on China, and stop chip shortages.