Samsung Foundry, a division of Samsung Electronics has started the mass production of 7nm and 6nm EUV chipset. Samsung Foundry once used to supply its chips to both Qualcomm and Apple. But lately, it was going through tough times. Chips made by the Samsung foundry were once used to fabricate the chipsets like Snapdragon 820/821, Snapdragon 835, Snapdragon 845 and party the Apple A9. In the past four years, both Apple and Qualcomm shifted to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the biggest rival of Samsung Foundry.
Apple fully shifted to TSMC starting with A10 SoC and continued using TSMC chips for the A11, A12, and A13 SoCs. Qualcomm also gave the order to manufacture the Snapdragon 865 SoCs followed by Snapdragon 865. For a while, it seemed that Samsung would get the order for the latest Snapdragon SoC due to its cutting edge 7nm EUV process. But Qualcomm for unknown reasons opted to go with TSMC’s 7nm N7P (DUV) process for the Snapdragon 865 processor while using Samsung’s newer 7nm EUV process for the Snapdragon 765 which is a mid-range chipset.
Recently the company won a contract to supply some parts of the Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 5G modem which is a 5nm chip-making its way in the flagship phones of 2021. And now the company has announced that is has started the mass production of the chips in the facility named V1 which is Samsung’s semiconductor fabrication EUV-equipped line situated in Hwaseong, South Korea.
V1 right now is capable of producing chips of 7nm and below (currently limited to 6nm) using the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography process with plans of producing up to 3nm nodes which are in design and testing phase. By the end of 2020, it is expected that the capacity of 7nm and below chips will increase three times in comparison to 2019.
The company says as the geometry of chips is getting smaller and smaller, the adoption of EUV lithography technology has become increasingly important. As it allows them to scale down the complex patterns on wafers and provide an “optimal choice” for next-generation applications such as 5G, AI, and automotive.
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