Samsung has started producing 3nm chips, beating rival chip maker TSMC for the more energy-efficient manufacturing process, Bloomberg reports† TSMC’s 3nm process is not expected to enter mass production until the second half of 2022.
Samsung says: the new manufacturing process is 45 percent more energy efficient than the previous 5nm process, has 23 percent better performance and 16 percent smaller surface area. In the future, it hopes its second-generation 3nm process can reduce power consumption and size by 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively, and improve performance by 30 percent.
The announcement is an important milestone in Samsung’s efforts to compete with TSMC, which dominates the contract chip manufacturing market and is the maker of Apple’s chips for its iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and Macs. But Bloomberg reports that Samsung is unlikely to be able to capture TSMC’s market share until it can prove that the cost-efficiency of its new 3nm process is competitive with the market leader.
Samsung says the chips will initially be produced for “high performance, low power computing” applications, but plans to eventually make their way to mobile. The chips will be produced in South Korea for the time being, initially at the Hwaseong facilities before expanding to Pyeongtaek, Bloomberg notes. The company’s forthcoming chip factory in Texas, which early reports say could eventually have the capacity to manufacture 3nm chips, won’t begin mass production until 2024.
The location of chip manufacturing has come under enormous scrutiny due to the recent global chip shortage, with the US, Europe and China vying for manufacturers to produce more chips domestically.