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Samsung 3nm chip successfully taped out, using GAA process

Sunday,Jul 04,2021

 Samsung announced that the 3nm process technology using GAA architecture, which is cooperating with Synopsys, has been officially taped out. Samsung is one step ahead of TSMC, adopting the GAA process in the 3nm process ahead of schedule.

It is understood that Samsung announced in January last year that it would produce the world's first 3nm GAAFET process prototype. 3nm GAAFET requires a set of design and certification tools that are different from the FinFET transistor structure used by TSMC and Intel. In this regard, Samsung uses Synopsys' Fusion Design Platform. Therefore, the tapeout was completed by Synopsys and Samsung foundries in cooperation to accelerate the provision of highly optimized reference methods for the GAA process.
Samsung said that the GAA architecture has improved electrostatic characteristics, thereby improving performance and reducing power consumption. It can bring new optimization opportunities for additional vectors based on nanosheet width control, and with a complete voltage threshold, it can better optimize power , Provide better design for performance or area (PPA).
However, this is not the first time that Samsung has introduced new technology to TSMC at the process node. Previously, in the 7nm process, Samsung also adopted EUV lithography technology first. It can be seen that Samsung has performed even better in new technologies. Boldness also demonstrates its attitude of "a showdown" with TSMC.
However, can the advance adoption of GAA technology in 3nm chips really bring more competitive advantages to Samsung?
Sheng Linghai, vice president of research at Gartner, believes that the adoption of new process technology in advance will actually cause certain risks. "FinFET process structure has been developed and applied in advanced integrated circuit chips for 10 years. It can be seen that FinFET technology has already It is relatively mature and can better control costs. However, after the introduction of GAA, many technical aspects need to be reconsidered, and more costs need to be spent on research and development. This will also easily lead to higher chip costs and higher performance. Chips with FinFET process structure are better." Sheng Linghai said with a reporter from China Electronics News.
At the same time, Song Changgeng, the research director of Xinmou Research, also believes that for customers, they will not choose to try because the foundry adopts new technologies. They will still integrate power consumption, performance, price and other aspects. Considering the technology of the chip, Cai Hu adopted it. Therefore, in terms of customer competition, the first step to adopt the GAA process may not necessarily bring more customers to Samsung.
"But this does not mean that Samsung's use of GAA technology in advance is completely unreasonable. Previously, Samsung has used GAA transistors in memory. It can be seen that Samsung has accumulated a certain amount of experience in GAA technology. The use of GAA technology in China may bring certain advantages to Samsung." Song Changgeng said.