Samsung’s chip manufacturing business says it will begin mass production of two-nanometer semiconductors for mobile devices in 2025, promising significant performance increases from the next-generation technology. The news puts it in line with chipmaking rival TSMC, which also has a 2025 target for its 2nm process.
Korean electronics giant Samsung which, along with TSMC, manufactures the vast majority of the world’s leading-edge semiconductors, revealed the news at the seventh annual Samsung Foundry Forum, taking place in San Jose today.
Samsung 2nm chip details revealed
At the event, Samsung revealed mass production of the 2nm chips for mobile applications will start in 2025, then expand to HPC in 2026 and automotive in 2027. It is also looking ahead to the next iteration of the technology and says mass production of 1.4nm chips will begin in 2027 as planned.
By making smaller and smaller chips, companies such as Samsung have traditionally been able to derive performance and power improvements from each new generation of component. It claims its 2nm process has shown a 12% increase in performance, a 25% increase in power efficiency and a 5% decrease in area when compared to its 3nm semiconductors, which have been in production since last year.
With many experts considering the limits of the performance of silicon chips to have almost been reached, Samsung is also looking to new materials. From 2025, it will begin foundry services for eight-inch power semiconductors based on gallium nitride (GaN), targeting consumer, data centre and automotive applications.
It is also looking to 6G, and says 5nm Radio Frequency (RF) chip is also under development and will be available in the first half of 2025. Samsung’s 5nm RF process shows a 40% increase in power efficiency and a 50% decrease in area compared to the previous 14nm process.
“Samsung Foundry has always met customer needs by being ahead of the technology innovation curve, and today, we are confident that our technology will be instrumental in supporting the needs of our customers using AI applications,” said Dr Siyoung Choi, president and head of foundry business at Samsung Electronics. “Ensuring the success of our customers is the most central value to our foundry services.”
Samsung vs TSMC goes 2nm
Like many chipmakers, Samsung has been investing heavily in production capabilities to try and shore up semiconductor supply chains following the global chip shortage of 2021, which left many companies without access to key components.
It is spending $230bn on manufacturing facilities in South Korea to create what will be the world’s largest semiconductor production plant. It is also growing its footprint in the US, with a new factory in Taylor, Texas. Today’s forum heard that construction in Texas is “proceeding according to initial plans and is expected to finish by the end of the year, beginning operation in the second half of 2024”.
When it comes to contract chip manufacturing – making semiconductors for third parties – Samsung is locked in a battle for supremacy with TSMC. Both companies are hoping to bring 2nm to their customers by 2025, with TSMC telling investors on its earnings call last month that it is on track to deliver 2nm in two years’ time. Intel is planning to launch its equivalent process in 2024, but the US chipmaking champion’s roadmap has been characterised by delays in recent years.