The Galaxy S11 may sport a 5nm chipset, while Samsung details its 3nm process
Samsung is currently at the forefront of mobile chipset development, as it is expected to move to a 7nm processors made with the superior EUV (Extreme Ultra-Violet) lithography for the next iterations of the Exynos and Snapdragon processors that it is likely to craft in its foundries.
After this second generation of the 7nm process that Apple's A13 will also sport, comes... 3nm, it seems, as that's what Samsung detailed in a press release today, apart from the humbler step to 5nm which it has apparently already mastered.
A few years back, Samsung's Kinam Kim confirmed at a dedicated conference that "there are no fundamental difficulties until 5nm," and then the thing start getting dicey. Combining obscure-sounding 3nm Gate-All-Around (GAA) process, or 3GAE, Samsung apparently has mapped out possibilities for shrinking the size even further, with the following gains:
That's pretty impressive, and Samsung says that "the GAA-based process node is expected to be widely adopted in next-generation applications, such as mobile, network, automotive, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT."
The process implementation is moving faster than expected, as it can share the same production facilities where Samsung currently makes its FinFET chips, reducing development turnaround time. The Process Design Kit (PDK) for 3GAE has been released in April to clients to start early work on their architectures but first will come 6nm chips later this year, then 5nm in the first half of 2020, just in time for the Galaxy 11.
The 4nm process development will end this year for possible implementation in the second half of 2020, while the revolutionary 3nm chipsets will likely be reserved for Note 11 times and will stay with us for a good while afterwards. Where does all this ARM race end, before we have chips the size of a pinky nail that are as powerful as our aging desktop computers, and way more frugal? Bring it.