Samsung touts EUV advances and a new process for midrange SoCs

There aren't that many companies making chips to begin with these days, and you can count the number of firms on the forefront of semiconductor manufacturing on one hand. Samsung is one of those, and it seems the company intends to maintain contention for the top spot. The largest of the chaebols just announced that it has a new "11-nm" manufacturing process called 11LPP in the works. Looking further ahead, Samsung also announced that its work with EUV lithography is on track for production readiness.

For the crowd focused on the latest and greatest, the company says its 7-nm process with extreme ultraviolet (EUV) is on schedule for the second half of 2018. The company claims it's produced "close to 200,000 wafers" using EUV since 2014. As another example of its preparations for EUV insertion, Samsung says it has been able to push yields up to 80% on 256Mb SRAM modules using EUV. While SRAM is certainly a simple circuit compared to a massive microprocessor, that step could be an important one on the way to achieving production-readiness for 7-nm LPP with EUV. The company doesn't actually say whether those numbers are from the 7nm process, though—only that the chips have been fabbed using EUV.

There's not much question that EUV lithography is the way forward—every major microprocessor manufacturer is invested in the technology. Samsung has a strategic partnership of sorts with GlobalFoundries, and Samsung's estimation of when its EUV-based process will be ready falls right in line with Globalfoundries' own estimation from earlier this year. Samsung says it will have more details on the new technology on September 15, so stay tuned.

7-nm LPP with EUV may power the highest-performance chips of the future, but companies may not need the performance of that process all of the time. To that end, Samsung is also introducing a new process node called 11-nm Low Power Plus, or 11LPP. The company says 11LPP will improve the value proposition for products that don't merit a microprocessor produced using its current and bleeding-edge 10-nm technology. Specifically, Samsung says that the new process will offer "15% higher performance and 10% chip-area reduction with the same power consumption" compared to its 14LPP process. That's probably not going to bring chips manufactured on 11LPP within range of the company's 10-nm offerings (despite the numerical similarity), but it should offer a nice boost to midrange devices' performance and battery life when chips built on it actually arrive. Samsung says 11LPP will achieve production-readiness in the first half of next year.

Comments closed
    • willmore
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]While SRAM is certainly a simple circuit compared to a massive microprocessor...[/quote<] While it's not as complex as a full up processor, SRAM is a great test circuit because it is usually *very* dense and hence pushes the limits of the etching process. It's also pretty easy to characterize for speed, etc.

    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    Qualcom, Mediatek, and Allwinner: “Horray! Now we can move to 17 A53s!”

      • Chrispy_
      • 2 years ago

      Why are multiple weedy A53s so popluar; Do ARM not charge any fees for A53 or something?

      At least one A7x would be nice….

        • willmore
        • 2 years ago

        I really would like to know that, too. They are everywhere. I’m assuming it’s their good tradeoff of size and performance to some degree as well.

        Compared to the A5 and A7’s I see is a lot of SoCs, I much prefer the A53! Now, if it was versus an A15, then that’s a different thing.

        You want another good question? Where are all the A57’s? it was supposed to be the big to the A53’s LITTLE, but we mostly see one quad of A53 or, worse yet, two quads of them in different performance tuning. Like a 1.5GHz A53 is all that much better than a 1.2GHz A53!

        Let’s hope we see as much of the A55 as we did the A53.

        • strangerguy
        • 2 years ago

        Because phone vendors plain don’t like the A72/A73 SoCs unless they can charge flagship prices with them. They are too good enough on a cheap phone which undermines the appeal of the own flagships but yet aren’t marketable enough on an actual flagship. Even on 28nm the A72 was making 14nm SD820 look bad.

        • tipoo
        • 2 years ago

        It’s unfathomably small and costs nothing to sprinkle a bajillion of them in everywhere. Plus 8 marketing is huge in China, as well as in the rest of the world more cores seem like they would be better to most non tech people.

        Early on Qualcomm resisted the Mediateks and Allwinners of the world and said more cores wasn’t necessarily better, but then they folded and months later had 8 core mid end chips of their own.

    • Mat3
    • 2 years ago

    If 14nm is actually a 20nm back end, what exactly does “7nm” mean?

      • psuedonymous
      • 2 years ago

      [url=https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C8C7E2WXgAEJR9z.png:orig<]It means different things to different [s<]people[/s<] fab houses[/url<].

        • willmore
        • 2 years ago

        Those are L1 metalization dimensions, though which are never near the gate dimensions.

    • Generic
    • 2 years ago

    Anyone want to hazard a guess when a mainstream GaAs chip will ship? Before 2025?

      • willmore
      • 2 years ago

      Look in your phone. There’s probably one or two in there. Most RF power, mixer, etc. chips are in GaAs or something equally exotic.

    • Stonebender
    • 2 years ago

    Seeing as how there is only one tool manufacturer for EUV tools, these articles about xxx company being close to EUV readiness are funny. Everyone is going to have access to this technology at about the same time. Though as much money as Intel has sent ASML’s way, I suspect they will be first.

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      It reminds me of [url=https://youtu.be/RqfLOJGS_7o?t=1m24s<]Duff beer, Duff lite, and Duff dry.[/url<]

        • Generic
        • 2 years ago

        edit: Simpsons fail 🙁

        I wanted Düff to be included, but that was Moe, being Moe.

        • blastdoor
        • 2 years ago

        What about Fudd?

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