Samsung is Working on 7nm Chips for Next Flagships

Samsung, the world’s largest chip maker, is outlining its plan to become the first in the industry to move towards a 7 nm fabrication process. Meanwhile, it is also introducing a new 11 nm fabrication procedure for future mid-to-upper end phones.

Called 7 LPP (Low Power Plus) with “extreme ultra violet lithography technology”, the chip will be the industry’s first to use this smaller die size. The current top-end mainstream offering in the market, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, is built on a 10 nm FinFET procedure, built in a collaboration between Samsung and Qualcomm.

Ahead of Competitors

The move will be a strategic one against rivals such as TSMC, the likes of which haven’t adopted the new technology yet. It has developed 200,000 wafers using EUV lithography, and seen yields of up to 80 percent on 256 MB SRAM.

Qualcomm recently switched almost exclusively to Samsung due to its advancement in said technologies. The arrival of its 7 nm FinFET batch is right on time for future iPhones as well as the company’s own Note series flagships. By switching to the new procedure next year, Samsung is on track to reach its targets of getting from 14nm to 7nm in three years.

Improving Mid-Range Chips

The new 11 LPP FinFET procedure for midrange devices, meanwhile, is an improvement over the previous 14 nm procedure, bringing a 15% theoretical performance improvement, while also reducing the chip sizes by 10%. The amount of power consumed stays the same as the current-generation chips like the Snapdragon 660.

“Samsung has added the 11 nm process to our roadmap to offer advanced options for various applications. Through this, Samsung has completed a comprehensive process roadmap spanning from 14 nm to 11 nm, 10 nm, 8 nm, and 7 nm in the next three years.” Ryan Lee, Vice President and Head of Foundry Marketing.

While the 11 LPP procedure is scheduled to see production in the first half of 2018, the 7LPP procedure will have to wait till the second half of the year.