Samsung has announced that it has completed the development of the 8nm Low Power Plus (LPP) process node technology. This technology offers a 10 percent improvement in power efficiency, primarily due to the reduced power consumption of individual transistors. Samsung also claims that the 8nm process node delivers a 10 percent reduction in chip size. These features, according to the South Korean tech giant, makes the process node suitable for the fabrication of high-performance processors for smartphones and other mobile devices, servers, and mining of virtual currencies. The company also mentioned that since the 8nm process node is based on the 10nm technology, it was able to develop the new process node and ramp up chip production within a short period of time. However, it seems that the process node does not benefit from the Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, which allows for better yields and potentially decreased production cost. Samsung stated that it will start utilizing the technology on the 7nm process, which will likely be ready by late 2018.
Qualcomm has collaborated with Samsung for the development of the 8-nanometer process. The firm has been a customer of Samsung within the past few years, with Samsung's foundry division fabricating Qualcomm's recent flagship offerings, namely the Snapdragon 820, 821 and 835 chipsets, using its 14-nanometer and 10-nanometer technologies respectively. It is likely that Qualcomm will utilize the 8-nanometer process node technology for the chipsets that will launch early next year. However, it is not yet clear if the rumored Snapdragon 845 will also be fabricated in Samsung's foundries, given that the semiconductor company has recently inked a deal with TSMC to collaborate in the development of FinFET process technology.
It is important for Samsung to maintain its lead not only in process node technology but also in cost-efficiency. Aside from the 7-nanometer technology, it is reported that Samsung is already working on 6-nanometer and 4nm process nodes. One of its biggest rivals, TSMC, is developing its own 7nm process node and it also intends to spend more than $15 billion to build additional production facilities for its 3nm and 2nm technologies. GlobalFoundries, on the other hand, plans to begin mass production of chipsets using its 7nm process node in the latter part of 2018. More information regarding the new process node will be released in the company's Samsung Foundry Forum in Munich, Germany today.