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Official: Samsung begins shipment of the world’s first 3nm chip

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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As scheduled, the Korean multinational technology company Samsung Electronics has begun shipping chips made with the world’s most advanced 3-nanometer manufacturing technology, which has significantly reduced power consumption and performance. Recall that last week; the firm revealed that it will be unveiling the world’s first 3nm chip next week today.

However, today, the tech behemoth held a ceremony to commemorate the shipment of the first batch of 3-nm chips from its chip-making complex in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, attended by 100 companies and government officials.

The 3-nm technology is Samsung’s secret weapon to outpace its rival TSMC. Despite its expertise in memory chips, Samsung remains a distant second in the burgeoning foundry market, with less than a 20% share, while TSMC controls more than 50% of the global market.

Samsung’s 3-nm technology has a higher transistor density than the current 5-nm technology, resulting in faster and lower-power advanced chips for artificial intelligence, big data, and self-driving cars. Likewise, the first-generation 3-nm process has reduced power consumption by 45 percent and improved performance by 23 percent when compared to the current 5nm FinFET process.

Accordingly, the tech behemoth was also the first to adopt a more advanced transistor architecture known as gate-all-around field-effect transistor technology (GAAFET), which increased the overall efficiency of current fin field-effect transistor technology (FinFET).

GAAFET is thought to be necessary for next-generation foundry microfabrication, which is smaller than 3 nm, but chipmakers are struggling to improve the low yield rate in the early stages of production. According to the company, its engineers began researching GAAFET technology in the early 2000s and adopted it for the then-upcoming 3-nm manufacturing process in 2017. The company made the mass production of 3nm chips official last month, becoming the first chipmaker to do so.

Speaking on the latest 3-nm production at the event, Kyung Kye-Hyun, CEO of Samsung’s chip business division, said it is an outcome of innovation and a milestone for the company’s foundry business.

In his words: “The latest 3-nm production is a milestone for Samsung’s foundry business,” Kyung Kye-Hyun continued, “At a time when the FinFET technology is nearing its limits, we have succeeded in developing the GAAFET technology as an alternative earlier than others. This is an outcome of innovation.”

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