Samsung Electronics has been a leading semiconductor manufacturer for several years, supplying its resources and technologies to world-renowned semiconductor companies and smartphone manufacturers including Qualcomm and Apple. Earlier in October Samsung began mass producing 10nm System-on-Chips in anticipation of the Samsung Galaxy S8, and today during the Samsung Foundry Forum, the company has announced its new advanced foundry process technology including the 4th generation 14-nanometer (nm) LPU process and 3rd generation 10nm LPU process for the next generation of products, ranging from mobile to the automotive industry.
According to Samsung’s official press release, the 4th generation 14nm LPU process delivers higher performance compared to its 3rd generation 14nm LPC process, while maintaining the same power requirements as the predecessor. 14nm LPU manufacturing processes “will be optimally suited for high-performance and compute-intensive applications”. As for the new 3rd generation 10nm LPU process, it will offer an extra boost in performance compared to the previous 10nm LPE technologies, and will provide area reduction compared to both 10nm LPE and 10nm LPP technologies. This means that chipsets built on 10nm LPU technologies will have a smaller physical footprint compared to silicon manufactured on 10nm LPE and LPP, potentially allowing device manufacturers to create more compact designs. The official press release adds that “due to limitations of current lithography technologies, 10LPU is expected to be the most cost-effective cutting-edge process technology in the industry” and further mentions that 10nm LPU is designed to “meet the needs of an extended range of applications”.
In addition to the new foundry offerings, Samsung also kept its customers in the loop in regards to the development status of 7nm EUV technology, and also showcased its 7nm EUV wafer. As for the availability of 10nm LPE and 14nm LPE processes, the press release states that process design kits (PDK) for both 10nm and 14nm LPU technologies will be available in the second quarter of 2017. The company adds that they have “received tremendous positive market feedback and are looking forward to expanding our leadership in the advanced process technology space.” Samsung’s current generation of flagship phones - specifically the Samsung Galaxy S7 series – are powered by an Exynos 8890 SoC built on 14nm LPP technologies, at least in variants that don’t make use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 SoC which was also manufactured in Samsung’s foundries using 14nm FinFET LPP processes.