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Samsung to mass produce third-gen 4nm semiconductor chips soon

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Last updated: March 13th, 2023 at 07:03 UTC+01:00

According to a new report, Samsung is all set to begin mass production of the third-gen 4nm chips during the first half of 2023. It is the main foundry product in the ultra-micro fabrication process sector. Thanks to the technological advancements in performance, power consumption, and area improvements, the company managed to neutralize one of the main problems in the early stages of the process, which was stabilizing the yield.

The improvements made by Samsung Foundry gave the company the green light to go forward with the production of third-gen 4nm chips and attract large corporate customers. These 4nm chips will be based on the 2.3-generation process. Moreover, it is the first time Samsung Foundry has specified the mass production time of a 4nm follow-up version.

Apparently, the earlier versions of the 4nm chips showed better performance and lower power consumption while using smaller areas compared to the SF4E chip. However, Samsung had great difficulties in managing chip yield. This issue led to Samsung Electronics losing its largest customer, Qualcomm, to TSMC. Also, it recently lost Tesla's big 4nm chip order to TSMC. This is the reason why the improvements in 3rd-gen 4nm chip yield were crucial for the company.

Samsung has to further improve its chip yield to meet the ‘far-ahead' TSMC

Samsung did, however, raise the production capacity of its 4nm chips as its yield clocked at 60%, as per industry insiders (via BusinessKorea). But this is still low as compared to its rival TSMC, which is known to be in the 70-80% range. The internal sources reveal that TSMC's yield is continuously improving, and the mass production of the follow-up version is also in acceleration mode.

As of now, the most advanced semiconductor process remains at 3nm, but the main products are still on 4nm and 5nm chips. According to the market research firm Counterpoint Research, in Q3 of 2022, the sales of 4nm and 5nm chips accounted for 22% of total sales, triumphing over the sales of 6nm and 7nm processes, which accounted for 16%.

TSMC is already planning to utilize its Arizona facility to manufacture 4nm chips, and the volume production will begin in 2024. To counter this and stay in the race, Samsung is also building a 4nm production line at its foundry plant in Taylor, Texas in the US.

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