Samsung Electronics is aiming to mass-produce 3-nm semiconductors in June to overtake TSMC. A media outlet forecast that Samsung Electronics and TSMC will have a big match in the 2-nm process in 2025.
DigiTimes reported on Jan. 4 that TSMC, the world's largest foundry company, entered mass production of 3-nm products in the second half of 2022 and secured large orders from Apple and Intel. However, it analyzed that TSMC offered Samsung Electronics an opportunity to narrow the gap between the two as it is suffering a delay in improving the yield on its 3-nm process and increasing output. It announced that its 3-nm process will contribute to driving up sales only in the first quarter of 2023.
A semiconductor expert said TSMC will be able to maintain its superiority over Samsung Electronics in the 3-nm process, but the two rivals are expected to compete head-on in the 2-nm process, which is based on gate all around (GAA) technology, in 2025. He predicted that TSMC will face difficulty in securing the desired yield in the process of introducing a GAA-based 2-nm process."
While Samsung Electronics is set to enter a GAA-based 3-nm process this June, TSMC is planning to apply the existing fin field-effect transistor (FinFET) technology to its 3-nm process in the second half of the year. It plans to apply the GAA technology beginning from the 2-nm process in 2025.
In the global foundry industry, only TSMC and Samsung Electronics are using the sub-7-nm process. However, industry experts say that TSMC accounts for almost 90 percent of all 7- and 5-nm foundry products.
Recently, Samsung Electronics has decided to build a foundry worth 20 trillion won in the United States and announced the development of new technologies regarding ultra-micro fabrication processes. The company announced the development of the Multi-Bridge Channel (MBC) FET process, an upgrade from the GAA process which not only reduces space by about 45 percent and power consumption by about 50 percent but improves performance by about 35 percent compared to a 7-nm FinFET process.
Digitimes predicted that Samsung Electronics will produce its first semiconductor in the first half of 2022 and enter a second-generation 3-nm process in 2023 and an MBC FET-based 2-nm process in 2025. “However, Samsung's GAA-based 3-nm process has a small number of customer orders and small production volume and its main goal is to promote technology,” Digitimes said. "Samsung will not be able to take away TSMC's customers in 3-nm processes from 2023 to 2025.
"Samsung's real goal is to overtake TSMC in the GAA-based 2-nm process in 2025,” Digitimes added. “Samsung and TSMC will have a crucial match in 2025.”