Samsung Electronics Co., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, announced on Oct. 17 that it has begun the mass production of System-on-Chip (SoC) products with 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET technology, which would make it the first in the industry, following the successful mass production of the industry’s first 14-nm FinFET mobile application processor (AP) in January last year.
The South Korean tech giant said its new 10-nm FinFET process had 27 percent better performance, used 40 percent less power and increased the number of chips per wafer by 30 percent compared to the existing 14-nm APs that made up the previous generation.
Following the introduction of Samsung’s first-generation 10-nm process (10LPE), its second generation process (10LPP) with a performance boost is targeted for mass production by the end of next year. The company plans to use the 10-nm APs long-term through continuous performance improvement and expansion of the derivation process.
Samsung Electronics shows faster movement than Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest dedicated semiconductor foundry, which has started the mass production with a 16-nm process in the third quarter last year and hasn’t unveiled the 10-nm mass production plan yet. However, Samsung hasn’t revealed its plan to begin the next-generation fine process technology below 10nm, unlike the TSMC that recently declared its intention to develop 3-nm process technology.
Industry sources say that this is because Samsung Electronics believes a process below 10nm will not have much better performance and profitability than the 10-nm process. As the company has already secured a considerable amount of foundry orders for Qualcomm's next-generation Snapdragon AP as well as Samsung Electronics' next-generation Exynos APs, mass production with the new 10-nm process technology will improve the profitability of Samsung Electronics’ large-scale system integration (LSI) business division for a while.
Through close collaboration with customers and partners, Samsung Electronics also aims to verify the 10-nm process design tools and provide production-level process design kits (PDK) and intellectual property (IP) design kits, which allows customers to help with developing products, expanding the foundry ecosystem.