Samsung starts investing in 5nm chip production lines
Just one year after the development of its 5nm fabrication technology, Samsung has started the construction of 5nm EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) production lines. The company wants to defeat TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) and become the leader in the semiconductor business by the year 2030, and its plan is being carried out without any setback.
Samsung has placed orders for the necessary equipment from major semiconductor equipment makers to set up a 5nm foundry line inside its V1 plant located in its Hwaseong campus. It usually takes two to three months to install all the required equipment to fabricate semiconductor chips, and the South Korean electronics giant has already installed some of them. So, it is being expected that the company will be ready with its 5nm line by the end of June 2020.
After a semiconductor chip fabrication line is constructed, it usually takes a few months for the stabilization period, which includes testing, evaluation, and improvement in the production yield. So, industry insiders expect Samsung to be able to mass-produce 5nm chips by the end of this year or early next year. This means that the company will fall behind TSMC by six months in mass producing 5nm chips.
The South Korean firm’s 5nm EUV technology will allow chips to be 25% smaller compared to the chips made using 7nm EUV technology. Companies have already made deals to get their chipsets produced by Samsung. The company has received orders from Qualcomm for the production of its 5nm EUV-based Snapdragon X60 5G modem chipset.
Samsung has been in second place in the semiconductor manufacturing segment since 2017 and hasn’t been able to defeat TSMC yet. However, the company hopes that it can receive more 5nm orders in the coming years since TSMC and Samsung are the only brands that have developed the 5nm EUV technology.
The company has also succeeded in developing the 3nm technology and is expected to set up a 3nm foundry line by 2021 and match TSMC in mass producing 3nm chips by 2022.