Staying on track, Samsung officially ships its first 3nm process based chips to customers.
Samsung and TSMC were competing against one another in the ‘first to release 3nm‘ race. Now, it seems as if Samsung has beaten out TSMC. This is a huge milestone for the giant and to celebrate it, a whole ceremony was conducted at the Hwaseong Campus, in Gyeonggi–do.
“On the 25th, Samsung Electronics held a 3nm foundry product shipment ceremony using next-generation transistor GAA (Gate All Around) technology at the V1 line (EUV only) at Hwaseong Campus, Gyeonggi-do. The event was attended by about 100 people including Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Changyang Lee, suppliers, fabless, Samsung Electronics DS division head, Kyeong-hyeon Kye (President), and executives and employees, and encouraged executives and employees who participated in 3nm GAA R&D and mass production. Daeduk Electronics CEO Kim Young-jae, Dongjin Semichem CEO Lee Jun-hyeok, Soulbrain CEO Jung Hyun-seok, Won Semicon CEO Kim Chang-hyun, Wonik IPS CEO Lee Hyun-duk, PSK CEO Lee Kyung-il, KC Tech Vice Chairman Ko Sang-geol, Telechips CEO Jang-gyu Lee”
These chips will use smaller transistors making room for more transistors while improving the efficiency. Although, majority of Samsung chips are used for handhelds, this initial supply is designated for crytocurrency miners. Mining is a tedious process requiring heaps upon heaps of power. Improvements in the architecture are expected to alleviate this problem.
“The buyer to receive the first batch is a Chinese cryptocurrency miner and it is a client that cannot be trusted in the long term given the current cryptocurrency market conditions. Besides, the 3-nm chips are produced not in Pyeongtaek but Hwaseong and this implies a relatively small scale of production in that Samsung Electronics’ finest equipment is in Pyeongtaek and Hwaseong is where it develops manufacturing technologies.”
Impact on Mobile Phones
As for the mobile phone enthusiasts, Yes! Samsung does plan to use this new process for mobile phone chips. The Exynos 2300 and Qualcomm’s newer Snapdragon chips will utilize this new technology for the upcoming Galaxy S23. The fate of Exynos 2300 still remains a question mark as newer Galaxy phones have been rumoured to ditch Samsung’s own chips.
At the end of the day, this is just a mere speculation. Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 already beats out Apple’s A15 Bionic chip and its second iteration may put the upcoming A16 in a tight spot, tipping the balance in favour of Samsung’s S23.
Samsung claims that the newer and advanced node will allow for a reduction in power consumption of about 45%, an increase in performance of around 23% and the chip size will be reduced by 16% as compared to the 5nm chips. No comparisons with the 4nm process node were given although, we can expect the newer technology to perform better.
TSMC, on the other hand is expected to start mass production of its own 3nm based chips by the end of 2022 which will be used in Apple’s M2 Pro, M2 Max.