Samsung is expected to announce the start of mass production of 3nm chips next week, reports Yonhap news. That means the company will jump ahead of TSMC, which is expected to begin 3nm chip production in the second half of this year.
Samsung’s 3nm node will result in a 35% decrease in space, 30% higher performance or 50% lower power consumption compared to its 5nm process (which was used for Snapdragon 888 and Exynos 2100).
This will be achieved by switching to a Gate-All-Around (GAA) design for transistors. This is the next step after FinFET, as it allows the foundry to shrink transistors without compromising their ability to conduct current. The GAAFET design used in the 3nm knot is MBCFET flavor shown in the image below.
The development of silicon transistors
US President Joe Biden visited Samsung’s factory in Pyeongtaek last month to take part in a demonstration of Samsung’s 3nm technology. Last year, the company was able to invest $ 10 billion in building a 3nm foundry in Texas. This investment has grown to $ 17 billion and the plant is expected to start operating in 2024.
The site of Samsung’s factory in Taylor, Texas
The biggest concern with a new node is at least the yield. In October last year, Samsung stated that the yield of their 3nm process “is approaching a level equivalent to the 4nm process”. Although the company never showed official figures, analysts believe that Samsung’s 4nm node was plagued by dividend issues.
A second generation of 3nm node is expected in 2023, and the company’s roadmap also includes an MBCFET-based 2nm node in 2025.