When Samsung Foundry announced last year that it started the mass production and shipments of 3nm chips, it didn't reveal the name of its first client for the latest-generation node. Several reports claimed it was making 3nm ASIC chips for cryptocurrency mining firms. Now, the company seems to have received another client.
According to reports, Samsung Foundry will start making server-grade SiP (System-in-Package) with HBM (High Bandwidth Memory) for an unknown client from the US. The chip is designed by the South Korean firm AD Technology. Not many details are available about the chip that's being manufactured, but it features HBM memory and it uses 2.5D packaging technology. It is also unclear if Samsung Foundry is using SF3E (first-generation 3nm fabrication process) or SF3 (second-generation 3nm process) to make the chip.
Jeong Ki-bong, Vice President of the Business Development Team at Samsung Electronics Foundry Division, said, “We are pleased to be able to announce this 3-nano design collaboration with AD Technology. This project will set a good precedent in the cooperation program between Samsung Electronics Foundry Division and ecosystem partners. “Samsung Electronics Foundry Division will strengthen cooperation with partners to provide the best quality to customers.”
Samsung Foundry started making 3nm chips a few months earlier than TSMC, but it failed to get big-name clients like AMD, Apple, MediaTek, Nvidia, and Qualcomm. Apple, a few weeks ago, announced the A17 Pro chip that's made using TSMC's 3nm process. Samsung's second-generation 3nm process (SF3) is expected to be available early next year, and it allows varying nanosheet channel widths within the same cell type, offering improved power, performance, and area compared to SF3.
In 2025, Samsung Foundry is expected to ready SF3P, its third-generation 3nm chip fabrication process with performance enhancements. This process can be used to make server and smartphone chips.
Author's Note: Samsung Foundry hasn't been on par with TSMC in chip fabrication for a few years now. Chips made by Samsung Foundry's process nodes have been known to consume relatively more energy for the same task, generating more heat and throttling the speed, offering lower performance compared to similar chips made by TSMC.
However, with its 3nm process, Samsung Foundry has used GAA (Gate All Around) rather than FinFET, and that is expected to offer better performance and thermals. Hence, the company is expected to catch up with TSMC this year.