Samsung Electronics in June last year began mass production of 3nm chips, but few customers, have been exposed to the source of the order seems to be only an unnamed Chinese customer.
South Korean semiconductor design company ADTechnology now announced that it has signed a contract with an overseas customer for a server-oriented chip design project based on Samsung’s 3nm process. This is the first time that Samsung Electronics has confirmed that it has secured a 3nm customer through a design house.
ADTechnology did not disclose the identity of the customer but is said to be a U.S. company engaged in high-performance computing (HPC) chips.
Gibong Jeong, executive vice president and head of the business development team at Samsung’s foundry business unit, said: “We are pleased to announce our collaboration with our trusted partner ADTechnology on the 3nm design program. Our joint efforts will serve as an excellent example of collaboration within the SAFE ecosystem. We look forward to the opportunity to work more closely together to deliver superior products to our customers.”
JK Park, CEO of ADTechnology, said, “This 3nm program will be one of the largest ASIC offerings in the industry. I believe that this 3nm and 2.5D design experience will be a great differentiator for us from our competitors in the future. We will do our best to provide high-quality design solutions to our customers.”
Samsung Electronics’ 3nm process is the first to utilize the fully surrounded gate transistor GAA architecture, unlike the finned field effect transistor (FinFET) architecture used in processes such as 7nm and 5nm.
According to Samsung Electronics, compared to the 5nm process, their first-generation 3nm process foundry chip achieved 45% energy efficiency improvement, 23% performance improvement, 16% area reduction (PPA) compared to 5nm. In addition, Samsung’s next-generation 3nm SF3 achieves a 22% frequency increase, 34% performance improvement, and 21% area reduction over the 4nm FinFET platform.
Samsung will focus on 3nm production in 2023-2024 with SF3 (3GAP) and its improved version SF3P (3GAP+), with production yields initially in the 60-70% range, and the company also plans to start rolling out its 2nm level nodes in 2025-2026.
After both Samsung and TSMC enter the era of 3nm process, 3nm process will become the mainstream of the foundry market in the future. Therefore, it is expected that by 2025, the 3nm process market output value will be as high as 25.5 billion U.S. dollars (current about RMB 176.205 billion), exceeding the 5nm estimated 19.3 billion U.S. dollars output value.
According to TrendForce, a market research organization, in the third quarter of 2022, TSMC still ranked first in the global foundry market with 53.4% market share, while Samsung ranked second with only 16.4% market share. Therefore, the fierce competition in the market also makes 3nm process will become the key of the future competition between the two companies.
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