After announcing the start of production of 3nm ring-gate transistor chips a few weeks ago, the Korean electronics giant will showcase its first GAA chip next week. Compared to the current 5nm process, 3nm GAA is expected to benefit future flagship devices such as the Galaxy S by delivering lower power consumption and higher performance while shrinking in size. Meanwhile, rival TSMC also kicked off 3nm FinFET production this month, but GAA chips won’t be available until 2025.
It is not clear how many customers Samsung’s 3nm GAA will poach from TSMC’s side, but from the paper parameters, its upgrade iteration over the 5nm process is still quite bright.
"For mobile devices, ring-gate transistors will bring significant energy efficiency gains and size scaling, resulting in longer battery life. In addition, the design flexibility of GAA means it is highly conducive to design technology co-optimization (DTCO) and improved power, performance and area (PPA) benefits."
Specifically, the initial 3nm process is up to 45% more energy efficient than 5nm, improving performance by 23% and reducing chip area by 16%.
The second-generation 3nm process is expected to reduce power consumption by 50%, improve performance by 30%, and reduce chip area by 35%.
Samsung is still struggling to boost its 3nm chip capacity to achieve profitability
Even so, Samsung is still facing a direct challenge from TSMC. All the A / M series chips currently used in Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Mac devices are given to TSMC for OEM.
What’s even more embarrassing is that even the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 upgrade (Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1), which is supported by many Android flagship smartphones in the second half of 2022, has been switched from Samsung to TSMC.
"It is reported that Samsung originally planned to use its own flagship chip on the Galaxy S22, but unfortunately encountered the problem of overheating and eventually had to throttle back to moderate the performance experience. As to whether there is a new plan based on 3nm GAA ring gate transistor technology in the future, it is not known."
Finally, a report from South Korea says that Samsung has scheduled a launch event for its first 3nm chip on July 25.
The first buyer, however, is a cryptocurrency mining company, the type of customer that apparently won’t help Samsung grab more business from TSMC.