Samsung has been making great strides in chip manufacturing technology. It was one of the first to manufacture 14nm chipsets for mobile devices, and now company has released more details about its upcoming 7nm and 10nm fabrication processes. It has also announced future roadmaps for the existing 14nm and 28nm processes.
Samsung claims that it fully intends to deploy extreme UV (EUV) to mass produce 7nm chips. This is significant since even experts were unsure about the necessity of EUV in the 7nm fabrication process. However, Samsung said that using EUV is imperative to keep production costs under check. That's because the alternative, triple patterning process, is significantly more expensive than EUV.
On 10nm side of things, Samsung said that it would be an improvement over the existing 14nm process, in addition to providing improved performance and possibly reducing cost as well. The company recently announced that it will start manufacturing second-generation 10nm chips this year. The 10LPE (Low Power Early) process will be followed by 10LPP (Low Power Plus), which is expected to provide 10-percent performance improvement. More importantly, a chip design done in 10LPE could easily be ported to 10LPP process.
Samsung seems to be doing well with 14nm process with its fab plants in Korea and Texas running at full steam, shipping 0.5 million wafers to date. The plant is currently taking orders from the likes of Qualcomm and AMD to manufacture chips based on the company's second generation 14nm FinFET process.
The company is doing great on the foundry side while being aggressive on the R&D front, but it needs to be seen whether its processes are as good as Intel's or TSMC's. A recent study showed that Apple's A9 chipsets manufactured by TSMC's 16nm process had better performance and power efficiency than those made by Samsung's 14nm process.