Samsung fires up 10-nm chip production

Half a year ago, Samsung announced that it was fabricating DRAM on a "10-nm class" process. Now, the company is announcing that it's fabricating microprocessors with 10-nm feature size—unspecified SoCs, more specifically. The company skips the vague "class" descriptor this time around, and says that it is using a new 10-nm FinFET process called 10LPE. This move is in contrast with GloFo's decision to skip 10nm and go straight to 7-nm manufacturing.

LPE, to delve into jargon for a moment, stands for Low-Power Early. Chipmakers usually use the term to describe a fabrication process that sacrifices some efficiency in exchange for a rapid time-to-market. Samsung didn't clarify exactly what SoCs it is manufacturing on the new process, but it did say that products based on the new parts will be launching early next year.

The company also says its upcoming second-generation 10LPP ("Low Power Plus") process will improve efficiency, netting increased performance while reducing power consumption. That upgrade is expected to begin mass production in the second half of next year, which coincides nicely with Samsung's expectations for its gargantuan new fab that it built last year.

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