From a purely formal perspective, Samsung Electronics was not only several months ahead of TSMC in implementing 3nm process technology, but also significantly ahead of its competitors in switching to the use of circular gate transistors (GAAFET). The South Korean manufacturer now hopes to stay one step ahead of its competitors in developing 2nm process technology, but at the expense of expanding the already introduced 3nm technology.
Accordingly DigiTimes with reference to the Korean edition money today, which cites sources privy to Samsung’s plans, the Korean giant’s contract division is now focusing its resources and efforts on accelerating the development of 2nm technology, even if this means increasing the scope of implementation the 3nm process technology has to sacrifice. Samsung began mass production in late June 2022, but TSMC, which was about six months behind, was still acquiring more customers for this phase of lithography.
Industry experts believe that the 2nm process and its analogues will not be widely used until 2025. If Samsung Electronics expects to become a serious player in the market for contract chip manufacturing using advanced lithography, the company must now actively master the 2nm standards. According to TrendForce, TSMC controlled nearly 60% of the global chip contract manufacturing market in the first quarter of this year. Samsung management wants the company to become the technology leader in this area in a maximum of five years. The ability to successfully master the 2nm process will largely determine whether this goal is achievable.
Within the framework of 3nm technology, TSMC and Samsung, as reported by South Korean media, have a comparable yield of suitable products of 50-60%, but if the former focused on expanding the production capacity of this profile, the second is already thinking about the transition to 2 nm technology. Initially, we will work with potential customers who could commission the production of 2nm products for their own projects in the future. Unlike TSMC, Samsung does not need to use the GAAFET transistor structure for the first time under 2nm technology, as it was introduced at the 3nm stage of the process technology. At the same time, TSMC could begin test production of 2nm chips as early as this year, and Intel’s rapid progress in this area poses a threat to both market leaders.