Samsung introduces new turnkey foundry service, advanced nodes for AI chips

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Samsung on Wednesday unveiled an up to date roadmap for its most superior chip nodes catered for AI chips. The South Korean tech big additionally launched a brand new turnkey service that leverages its a number of chip enterprise areas to entice firms similar to Nvidia and AMD to make use of its foundry, or contract chip manufacturing, service for his or her AI chips.

The announcement marks the shifting focus of Samsung Foundry, the corporate’s contract chip-making enterprise unit, to chips for AI and high-performance computing (HPC) moderately than processors on cellular units.

Samsung Foundry’s AI gross sales have elevated by 80% over the previous 12 months and it was making important strides in diversifying its buyer base and software areas amid evolving market demand, the corporate famous. The tech big goals to have over 50% of its foundry income introduced in outdoors of cellular, it additionally stated.

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At Samsung Foundry Discussion board, its annual occasion for foundry themed this 12 months as Empowering the AI Revolution, held at San Jose, the corporate confirmed off its new 2-nanometer (nm) and 4nm course of nodes, known as SF2Z and SF4U, respectively.

SF2Z incorporates what is named a bottom energy supply community (BSPDN) to a standard 2nm node (Samsung’s SF2), the place the facility rails are positioned on the bottom of the wafer. Present chips have all of the parts in a chip similar to reminiscence, logic, and energy rails on the entrance facet of the wafer. Different contract chip makers are additionally getting ready their very own BSPDN applied sciences __ Intel calls it PoweVia and TSMC refers it to as Tremendous PowerRail which they’re additionally planning to undertake for his or her 2nm or underneath node chips.

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In accordance with Samsung, placing the facility rails on the bottom as a substitute enhances the facility, efficiency, and space (PPA) and voltage drop. SF2Z is geared toward high-performance computing (HPC) and AI chips and can roll out in 2027. Samsung already stated beforehand that SF2 will launch in 2025 previous to the discussion board.

Samsung was the primary to begin manufacturing of a 3nm gate-all-around (GAA) node in 2022. On the discussion board, Samsung famous that its GAA course of was maturing by way of efficiency and yield and a second-generation 3nm node known as SF3 will launch later this 12 months. GAA will even be adopted to its 2nm node launching subsequent 12 months, the corporate stated.

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SF4U, in the meantime, is a variant of its 4nm, SF4 course of that gives PPA boosts utilizing optical shrink, the place an present die design by the shopper is scaled down to suit into the newer node. This protects them in price as no main architectural modifications within the chip’s design is required for them emigrate into the extra superior node. SF4U is launching in 2025 whereas Samsung already presents SF4 to prospects. The South Korean tech big additionally reiterated that its 1.4nm node (SF1.4) will launch in 2027 and was additionally getting ready for chips under 1.4nm.

Samsung additionally unveiled its new turnkey foundry platform dubbed Samsung AI Options. This platform is obtainable collectively by Samsung’s three enterprise items in its chip division, Foundry, Reminiscence, and Superior Package deal (AVP). 

In accordance with the corporate, the platform integrates the “distinctive strengths” of every of those enterprise items that can enable Samsung to supply options for purchasers tailor-made for the precise necessities for his or her AI chips. General, it can present extra bandwidth in a compact kind issue, scale back energy consumption, and enhance sign integrity, Samsung stated.

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As a result of it’s the solely chipmaker that may supply reminiscence chips to go along with the shopper’s chip, manufacture these chips in addition to package deal them, Samsung stated this streamlines provide chain administration and reduces time to marketplace for the shopper. The corporate stated Samsung AI Options presents a 20% enchancment in whole turnaround time for purchasers. Samsung AI Options might be supplied with co-packaged optics (CPO) __ the place even the optics are packaged __ in 2027, the South Korean tech big stated.

Samsung’s determination so as to add extra variants to its course of nodes is sensible as a method for AI, a common time period that the truth is encompasses all kinds of various chips designed for various duties and scales. Some are made for ChatGPT and different massive language fashions. Some are for imaginative and prescient and picture processing to be used in drones and show units. Others are AI accelerators for information facilities.

In accordance with market analysis agency Omdia, the worldwide foundry market is anticipated to develop 18.1% a 12 months on common from 2023 when it was value $103.55 billion to 2027, when it’s anticipated to be value $201.28 billion. Progress in cutting-edge nodes of 3nm and underneath could have probably the most marked progress at 92.3% per 12 months on common over the time interval, the analysis agency’s forecast famous.

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Samsung is the world’s largest reminiscence chip producer and the second-largest contract chipmaker. Its Reminiscence Enterprise is trying to win Nvidia as a buyer for its HBM3E chips, that are used along with the GPU maker’s AI accelerators.

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