Samsung announces aggressive 7-nm EUV foundry expansion plans

Samsung announced today that it's going to be pouring $6 billion into a new semiconductor fabrication facility in Hwaseong, South Korea. The new facility is going to focus on extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) lithography for "single-digit nanometer" process technologies like Samsung's upcoming 7-nm LPP process.

Samsung's Hwaseong facility

The Korean company says the Hwaseong facility will be "the center of [its] semiconductor cluster," and that the new factory will "play a pivotal role" in Samsung's fabrication business in the future. Certainly, the foundry will offer a massive boost to production capacity if nothing else. That'll be handy in light of the announcement that Samsung made yesterday: Qualcomm will be having the company fabricate its next-generation Snapdragon 5G products on the aforementioned 7-nm LPP process.

That's no surprise, as Samsung's been making Qualcomm's chips for a decade now. It'll be interesting to see what Qualcomm comes up with on the new process, though. Samsung claims its 7-nm LPP process will offer a 40% increase in areal density compared to chips fabricated on its 10-nm process. Customers can further tune their designs for a 35% reduction in power consumption or a 10% performance increase at the same power level. Taken at face value, numbers like that would mean a big boost to Qualcomm's SoCs (depending on what parameters the company chooses to optimize for).

Samsung says it expects the Hwaseong facility to be completed in the latter half of 2019, and to start production in 2020. Of course, we might see 7-nm EUV chips before then—Samsung announced last September that it expects to have 7-nm products on the market in the second half of this year. Notably, GlobalFoundries beat Samsung to the punch with its own 7-nm node announcement, although GloFo's 7-nm process will begin as an extension of its 193-nm immersion lithography know-how rather than using EUV insertion from the get-go. Samsung may achieve EUV insertion first. Either way, this news heralds exciting times for the semiconductor industry.

Comments closed
    • Gadoran
    • 2 years ago

    They forgot TSMC……on track for volume shipment in June 2018 on a no EUV 7nm process for Apple SOCs.
    Basically they say they are TWO years behind TSMC and they have only a small EUV pilot line to manufacture few Qualcomm modems with no customers for them.
    Voices say Qualcomm is with TSMC at 7nm.

    Honestly a production in middle 2020 means TSMC al 5nm at the same timeframe.

    Samsung doesn t look very strong in logic processes.

    • blastdoor
    • 2 years ago

    we may look back on 2018 as the year intel fell behind for good

      • DancinJack
      • 2 years ago

      Just because these people have cool buzzwords and marketing terms like 7nm doesn’t mean Intel is falling behind “for good.”

      Intel’s processes have almost always been at least one “generation” ahead of others in terms of density and leakage. Not to mention, they manufacture extremely different products.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 2 years ago

        [quote=”DancinJack”<] Intel's processes have almost always been at least one "generation" ahead of others. [/quote<] It used to be [b<]two[/b<] generations. Intel slacked off the pace of process improvement and milked existing processes for longer when they weren't facing credible competition.

          • NoOne ButMe
          • 2 years ago

          Are we counting half nodes or while nodes here?

          • blastdoor
          • 2 years ago

          And right now it’s approximately zero. TSMC 10 nm is more dense than intel 14nm. And it sounds like TSMC 7nm (presumably showing up in iPhones later this year) will be more dense than intel 10nm.

          Moving further requires EUV and intel is behind there.

            • NoOne ButMe
            • 2 years ago

            I believe TSMC 12 is denser that anythjng Intel has done. Even their recent test/prototype/etc small stand-alone GPU.

            All the theoretical density in the world doesn’t matter if you can’t ship it!

            • Gadoran
            • 2 years ago

            Who say Intel is behind in EUV. They have a pilot line and the larger order around of EUV scanners right now. Over half the next years shipment of ASML tools.

    • cegras
    • 2 years ago

    Is that a Piet Mondrian homage … ?

      • Wirko
      • 2 years ago

      … or a homage to the recently expired copyright on his works?

    • Wirko
    • 2 years ago

    So EUV is still thirteen and a half nanometers away. Still not here.

      • blastdoor
      • 2 years ago

      So close, and yet so far…

    • WhatMeWorry
    • 2 years ago

    It never amazes me how large a plant is required to manufacture such incredibly small devices? Like the Mondrian design on the side of the building.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 2 years ago

      Last time I was in Hillsboro, OR, the most recent Intel Fab was being completed. The size of the building was massive. Anandtech has a writeup from a visit to the GF fab in upstate NY.

      The quote below provides some insight.

      [quote<] I started first with the sub-fab, named so as it occupies a huge space underneath the cleanroom; 6-to-1 was the cited ratio of sub-fab to cleanroom space. Responsible for supporting the tools and sustaining the super-clean environment above it, the sub-fab is really just a labyrinth of pipes and long corridors. [/quote<] [url<]https://www.anandtech.com/show/12399/the-globalfoundries-fab-8-tour-and-a-junior-editors-thoughts[/url<]

        • Sputnik7
        • 2 years ago

        I work at D1X! can confirm it’s massive : )

          • Srsly_Bro
          • 2 years ago

          I was going to say D1X but wasn’t sure if I was confusing it with a camera, so I abstained from an attempt!

        • traumahawk
        • 2 years ago

        Fab8 is hiring, paid relocation, if it’s of interest to you… 😉

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