Samsung’s Transistor Technology May Outperform TSMC at 2nm

What you should know

– TSMC and Samsung Foundry are the top two contract foundries, with Intel rising to become number three.
– Samsung Foundry is pushing ahead with research and development on 2nm process node, aiming to surpass TSMC within the next five years.
– TSMC currently has a 60% share of the global foundry market, while Samsung is expecting to match TSMC’s 50-60% yield on 3nm production.
– Samsung is ahead of TSMC in using Gate-All-Around (GAA) technology, while TSMC will start using it for 2nm chips in 2025.
– The smaller the process node, the more transistors can fit inside a chip, making them more powerful and energy efficient.
Apple is currently the only smartphone manufacturer shipping a phone with a 3nm chipset.
– Samsung manufactured Apple’s A-series chips until the A10, after which Apple switched to TSMC as its supplier.

Full Story

In the highly competitive market of contract foundries, TSMC and Samsung Foundry currently reign supreme, with Intel making impressive strides to capture the number three spot. However, according to Kye Hyun Kyung, the head of Samsung’s Semiconductor and Device Solutions (DS) division, Samsung Foundry has ambitious plans to surpass TSMC and become the world’s top foundry within the next five years. While TSMC currently holds a 60% share of the global foundry market, Samsung is determined to close the gap. Despite losing Qualcomm’s business last year, Samsung’s 3nm production is now said to match TSMC’s 50-60% yield, putting it on a more level playing field.

Anticipating the growing significance of the 2nm process, Samsung Foundry is taking proactive measures to get customers involved earlier in the production schedules. By doing so, Samsung hopes to entice companies to choose its foundry for their chip designs. Industry insiders predict that the 2nm process will take center stage by 2025, making it a strategic move for Samsung Foundry.

One key advantage Samsung currently holds over TSMC is its use of Gate-All-Around (GAA) technology. By utilizing vertically stacked horizontal nanosheets, Samsung’s transistors can come into contact with the gate on all four sides, reducing current leakage and increasing the drive current. While Samsung already employs GAA with its 3nm process node, TSMC continues to rely on FinFET transistors. However, TSMC is expected to adopt GAA technology when it begins mass-producing 2nm chips in 2025.

All these developments are crucial because as process node numbers decline, transistor sizes become smaller, allowing for more transistors to fit inside a chip. This leads to increased power and energy efficiency. For instance, Apple’s A-series application processors (AP) have seen a significant increase in transistor count over the years, resulting in improved speed and performance. Apple has been TSMC’s largest customer, and it is unlikely that they will switch suppliers for such a vital component of their iPhones.

Historically, Samsung manufactured Apple’s A-series chips up until the A8, which was produced for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014. Since then, TSMC has taken over production, and the partnership has remained strong. Despite legal disputes between the two tech giants, TSMC has consistently met Apple’s expectations, solidifying its position as the go-to foundry for iPhone chips.

In conclusion, Samsung Foundry’s determination to surpass TSMC as the world’s top foundry within the next five years shows their commitment to innovation and advancing semiconductor technology. With their focus on the 2nm process and early involvement of customers, Samsung Foundry is positioning itself to capture a larger market share. While TSMC remains a formidable competitor, Samsung’s adoption of GAA technology gives them a unique edge. Ultimately, the success of these foundries will shape the future of smartphone performance and energy efficiency.

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynn
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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