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Samsung one-ups TSMC, begins mass production of 3-nanometre chips

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South Korean giant Samsung Electronics has become the first company to begin mass production 3-nanometre chips, beating Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the most advanced foundry chipmaker.

The company is using the gate-all-around (GAA) transistor architecture that allows such first-generation 3-nm chips to have 16% smaller surface area, 45% lower power usage, and 23% performance improvement in comparison with the 5-nm chips, Samsung said. The South Korean company said in a statement that the second generation 3-nm process would lower power consumption to 50%.

“Samsung has grown rapidly as we continue to demonstrate leadership in applying next-generation technologies to manufacturing,” Samsung President and foundry business chief Choi Si-young said in a statement.

“We will continue to develop innovative technology and work to secure a mature technology process fast.”

The technology is likely to bring more customers looking for innovative and powerful semiconductors to build faster and more efficient technology products to Samsung.

The company is producing the first generation 3-nm chips and plans to start production of the second generation 3-nm process in 2023, TechCrunch reported.

Samsung has long been competing for supremacy with Apple’s chip-making partner TSMC, which announced in June that it would begin mass production of 3-nm chips in the second half of the year. The Taiwanese company, the world’s largest contract chip manufacturer, plans to produce 2-nm chips by 2025.

On the other hand, Samsung, the largest memory chip maker and second largest foundry player in the world, said its 2-nm process node was in the early development stage. It also has plans to begin mass production in 2025.

Samsung’s announcement comes amid the global chip shortage, fuelled further by the coronavirus. The chip shortage has threatened companies that need advanced chips for next-generation products.

The South Korean tech giant will produce the 3-nm chips at its Hwaseong semiconductor production line and its third chip plant in Pyeongtaek, the largest semiconductor facility in the world.

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