TSMC, Samsung to spend a fortune to make sure that this "law" isn't repealed

TSMC, Samsung to spend a fortune to make sure that this
The top two foundries on the planet belong to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Samsung. Both are in a race to keep Moore's Law alive; this is the observation made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965 that the number of transistors inside an integrated circuit doubles every year. In 1975, he revised his observation and said that the number of transistors doubles every other year. This is important because the more transistors that fit inside a chip, the more powerful and energy-efficient it is.

We can determine if this law is being upheld by looking at the manufacturing process used on each chip. For example, the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform was produced by Samsung in 2018 using its 10nm process. The Snapdragon 855 was produced by TSMC this year using its 7nm process and it seems as though next year's Snapdragon 865 will be produced by TSMC once again using the 7nm process (more on this later). Halfway through 2020 and for the balance of the year, Samsung and TSMC are expected to start delivering 5nm chips. The latter will deliver the 5nm Apple A14 Bionic and the Huawei Kirin 1020. At 5nm, an integrated circuit could contain as many as 171.3 million transistors per square millimeter. Consider that the 7nm Kirin 990 5G SoC sports 10.3 billion transistors and you can imagine how complex chipsets are be to make.

Both TSMC and Samsung are spending huge sums of money on EUV


Both TSMC and Samsung have roadmaps to 3nm and beyond and those that scoffed a few years ago at the idea that Moore's Law would still rule in 2020 are stunned. Plenty of money is being spent by TSMC and Samsung in order to reduce the process size for the foreseeable future. According to Techspot, Samsung plans on spending $116 billion over the next 10 years for the technological know-how and the facilities it needs to keep building more powerful chips. The report notes that much of the money is going to refine the development of extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV). This technology uses ultraviolet light to more precisely place patterns on wafers to mark up where transistors go inside an integrated circuit. Using EUV will increase the density rate of a chip; again, this makes them more powerful and energy-efficient. One EUV machine costs Sammy as much as $172 million. TSMC is also spending a fortune, believed to be as much as $14 billion a year, to keep Moore's Law from being "repealed."


Keep in mind that this battle between TSMC and Samsung is over the production of chips for big-name clients that design their own components but don't have the production facilities or know-how to manufacture them. For example, TSMC counts Apple, HiSilicon (Huawei), and Qualcomm among its big-name customers. This is the type of business that Samsung hopes to grow through the use of EUV and smaller process nodes. For example, Samsung's vice president of foundry business Yoon Jong Shik said, "companies like Amazon, Google, and Alibaba, which lack experience in silicon design, are seeking to make chips with their own concept ideas in order to boost their services. I think this would bring a significant breakthrough for our non-memory chip business." But Samsung is also aiming to churn out chips that TSMC might not have the capacity to make such as Qualcomm's 5G modem chips and AI chips for smartphone manufacturers and other companies.

It is interesting that while Samsung was supposed to manufacture the Snapdragon 865 Mobile Platform and the Snapdragon 765/765G for Qualcomm, it now appears as though Qualcomm will turn to TSMC to produce its 2020 flagship chipset. While the Snapdragon 765/765G chips are still thought to be coming from Samsung, Qualcomm is reportedly concerned about Samsung stealing its designs for use with its own Exynos chipsets.

Samsung currently owns 17.8% of the foundry business which is good enough for second place behind TSMC's massive 52.7% slice of the chip-making pie.

FEATURED VIDEO

14 Comments

2. vincelongman

Posts: 5808; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Lol PA forgot Intel Intel's 10nm is on par with TSMC's N7 and Samsung's 7LPP in terms of density Intel's 7nm should have better density than Samsung's 5LPE, but not as dense as TSMC's N5

3. shm224

Posts: 317; Member since: Mar 19, 2015

shut up. nobody cares about Intel.

4. Ichimoku

Posts: 188; Member since: Nov 18, 2018

I do.

8. iushnt

Posts: 3174; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

But why?

11. vincelongman

Posts: 5808; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Lol everyone will care about Intel very soon Rumors are Intel and Samsung are partnering up as they are both sturggling to keep up with TSMC Like how Samsung had partnered with GF before GF threw in the towel Hopefully the Intel + Samsung partnership will prevent TSMC gaining a monopoly

12. TadTrickle

Posts: 141; Member since: Apr 08, 2019

They pulled out of the mobile sector

16. vincelongman

Posts: 5808; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

TSMC don't design mobile SoCs either This is article is about fabrication, not mobile SoCs Rumors are Intel and Samsung are partnering up as they are both sturggling to keep up with TSMC Like how Samsung had partnered with GF before GF threw in the towel Hopefully the Intel + Samsung partnership will prevent TSMC gaining a monopoly

6. TheAccountant unregistered

do you guys think 1nm is possible in 10 years?

10. vincelongman

Posts: 5808; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yep, these are marketing terms which don't really mean anything TSMC's roadmap has them releasing their "3nm" in 2023 If they keep up their insane rate of improvement, then "1nm" would be 2025 Intel's announced their roadmap has 1.4nm in 2029 Intel's 3nm (2025) or 2nm (2027) should have a similar density to TSMC's "1nm"

13. TadTrickle

Posts: 141; Member since: Apr 08, 2019

Intel's been stuck on 14nm. They haven't backed up their road map they announced back in the early 10's. I'd expect more of the same from intel

17. vincelongman

Posts: 5808; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Intel are having yield issues with 10nm, which is stopping them from releasing desktop CPUs, but they have released Icelake laptop CPU which are 10nm Intel's 10nm is still on par with TSMC's 7nm and Samsung's 7nm TSMC will take the lead again when they ramp up their 2020 5nm Samsung's 2020 5nm is barely better than Samsung's 7nm, it's more of an iteration on 7nm than a new node Intel's 2020 10++nm will likely be on par with Samsung's 2020 5nm So for 2020 it will probably be TSMC >> Intel/Samsung >> GF (lol)

14. TadTrickle

Posts: 141; Member since: Apr 08, 2019

Sure, why not. Euv will make it possible

7. dimas

Posts: 3446; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

I will feel very lucky if I can use a product with 2nm chipset in the near future.

15. Locked-n-Loaded

Posts: 114; Member since: Sep 13, 2019

Forget transistors, we're good there - work on batteries!

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless