Samsung Foundry has made some modifications to its plans regarding its 3 nm-class course of applied sciences that use gate-all-around (GAA) transistors, or what Samsung calls its multi-bridge channel field-effect transistors (MBCFETs). Based mostly on new info direct from Samsung, it will seem that its first model of 3nm, 3GAE (3nm gate-all-around early), is coming to excessive quantity manufacturing a 12 months later than anticipated, but in addition it appears to have eliminated this know-how from its public roadmap, suggesting it could be for inside use solely.
In the meantime, 3GAE’s successor 3GAP (3nm gate-all-around plus) node remains to be within the roadmap, it’s on monitor for quantity manufacturing in 2023.
3GAE on Observe for 2022, Possibly Simply Not for Everybody
At its latest Foundry Discussion board 2021 in China, Samsung Foundry offered its up to date public know-how roadmap which was then republished by bloggers at Baidu and Weibo.
On its FinFET applied sciences, each 5LPP and 4LPP nodes are new to the roadmap, and set for high-volume manufacturing (HVM) in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
For GAA know-how, 3GAE is absent from the roadmap, however 3GAP is there. We reached out to Samsung and a consultant confirmed that the 3GAE know-how remains to be on monitor for ramp in 2022. From the slide, we are able to see that MBCFET-based 3GAP will enter its HVM section someday in 2023.
“As for the 3GAE course of, we have been in dialogue with clients and anticipate to mass-produce 3GAE in 2022,” the spokesperson mentioned.
The absence of 3GAE course of from the general public roadmap could also be defined by the truth that it’s going to solely be obtainable to Samsung’s personal LSI division, identical to another (E)arly nodes. That being mentioned, earlier era (E)arly nodes are nonetheless talked about within the slides that the corporate demonstrated.
Samsung initially introduced its MBCFET-based 3GAE and 3GAP nodes in Could 2019. Again then, the corporate promised a 35% efficiency improve, a 50% energy consumption discount, and a forty five% space discount for 3GAE in comparison with 7LPP. Moreover, the corporate introduced the supply of v0.1 of its 3nm PDK and on the time mentioned that quantity manufacturing utilizing 3GAE was set to start out in late 2021. With that transferring to 2022 based mostly on the most recent info, one would possibly interpret this as both a delay or miscalculation based mostly on enabling GAA designs at scale.
Nonetheless on the plus aspect, Samsung taped out the primary 3 nm take a look at chip a number of weeks in the past. It additionally introduced the supply of Synopsys EDA instruments suitable with the brand new fabrication applied sciences. The use of fabrication processes that rely on brand-new transistors is all the time a problem – along with new digital design automation (EDA) instruments, chip builders want all-new IP. We look ahead to listening to extra disclosures on that entrance.
A New 4LPP Node on FinFETs
Whereas it appears to be like like common clients will not be going to make use of Samsung’s 3 nm nodes till 2023, the newly introduced 4LPP is ready to fulfill the necessities of the corporate’s shoppers in 2022. Since 4LPP depends on acquainted FinFETs, it is going to be a lot simpler for Samsung’s clients to make use of this node when in comparison with any 3nm GAA nodes early of their lifecycle.
It’s noteworthy that Samsung now considers its 5 nm and 4 nm-class applied sciences as completely different node branches on its slides. Beforehand, the foundry thought of its 4LPE as an evolution of its 7LPP course of. Maybe it’s because 4 nm is ready to supply very tangible PPAc (energy, efficiency, space, price) benefits over 5 nm, or as a result of there are substantial inside modifications (e.g., new supplies, considerably increased utilization of utmost ultraviolet lithography, and many others.).
For instance, considered one of Samsung’s slides particularly mentions density and efficiency enhancements for 5LPE and 5LPP, however solely mentions energy and efficiency enhancements for 4LPP. The overlapping applied sciences will even assist to mitigate dangers if one of many nodes doesn’t meet sure expectations.
Surprisingly, Samsung Foundry is ready to ramp manufacturing utilizing its 4LPE and 5LPP applied sciences at across the identical time in 2021, which might allow it to supply completely different PPAc benefits for various chip designs.
Whereas Samsung Foundry’s GAAFET/MBCFET 3 nm plans seem to have modified and slipped by a 12 months, it’s unlikely a giant downside for the corporate as its (E)arly nodes have been by no means broadly adopted. To cowl that further 12 months, the corporate’s new 5LPP and 4LPP FinFET-based applied sciences are set to allow PPA benefits for Samsung Foundry’s shoppers and allow the corporate to achieve extra expertise with EUV gear earlier than utilizing it for its 3GAE/3GAP nodes.