Last month, a report surfaced that Samsung plans to rebrand its second-gen 3nm process, confusingly calling it 2nm. While it is unclear why the company would do that, a new report has shed more light on its actual 2nm process. The Korean firm is working on improving its GAA (Gate All Around) transistor architecture for the new process node. It aims to begin 2nm mass production in 2025.

Samsung is preparing to mass produce 2nm GAA chips in 2025

Samsung has long marked 2025 as the year of 2nm mass production in its semiconductor roadmap. A new report from Business Korea suggests the company is on track to achieving that. It is currently developing its third-gen GAA technology that it plans to apply to its 2nm chips. The Korean firm first moved to the GAA architecture for its 3nm chips in 2022. The second-gen GAA tech is applied to its second-gen 3nm process.

According to the new report, Samsung will present a paper on GAA tech at the VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) Symposium 2024. The prestigious global semiconductor conference will take place in Hawaii from June 16 to 20. It is one of the biggest semiconductor conferences in the world along with the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) and the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM).

Samsung is the only firm currently mass-producing GAA technology. Its arch-rival TSMC also started making 3nm chips in 2022 but the Taiwanese firm stuck to the older FinFET transistor architecture. It plans to use GAA tech on its 2nm chips next year. As such, Samsung will have a technological advantage when the 2nm era begins in 2025. It remains to be seen if the company makes this advantage count.

The GAA transistor architecture helps improve the performance and power efficiency of chips. It also allows for a more compact chip design. Samsung’s first-gen GAA tech offered a 16% reduction in chip size, a 23% performance boost, and 45% higher power efficiency. The second-gen solution is said to bring a 35% area reduction, 30% better performance, and 50% higher efficiency. The third-gen GAA tech will bring more improvements.

Samsung Foundry has yet to secure major 3nm contracts

Despite being the world’s first foundry to start 3nm mass production with the GAA architecture, Samsung has yet to secure major manufacturing contracts. TSMC, on the other hand, has already made 3nm chips for Apple, the A17 Pro for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Time will tell whether Samsung can turn the tide in its favor in the 2nm era. Qualcomm has reportedly requested 2nm samples from the company.

[ For more curated Samsung news, check out the main news page here]

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