Samsung Will Start 10nm FinFET Production in 2016

Samsung Will Start 10nm FinFET Production in 2016

Although Samsung has unveiled their first 10nm wafers back in May, nothing official has been announced on when it will put this new process technology in mass production.

However, Kelvin Low from Samsung Foundry said that the company officially added the 10nm FinFET fabrication technology into its foundry roadmap. It also announced that it would start mass-producing chips of its third-generation manufacturing process with FinFET transistors in late 2016, which it means that by 2017 we'll see the first 16nm commercial chips from Samsung.

Apparently, the company has a full PDK (process development kit) and a silicon-verified IP available, with early design activities already taking place at Samsung. Although Samsung isn't bringing any 10nm chips yet, the 16nm based on the 10nm FinFET process will substantially improve on its existing 14nm ones. The new 10nm fabrication process is all-new tech that's meant for Samsung's back-end-of-the-line interconnect flow in addition to its front-end-of-line features.
Smaller geometry, better semiconductor tech

The new 10nm process manufacturing will shrink the size of the transistor fins, transistor gate and interconnect pitches compared to the company’s 14nm process technologies. In fact, it shrinks the pitch geometry much more, resulting in higher performance, increased transistor density and lower per-transistor costs, something that will be a huge benefit for many companies who use Samsung Foundry’s services, including, yes, Qualcomm.

The first trial production of its 10nm FinFET manufacturing technology will come in late 2015 while gearing towards all-out mass production in 2016. While the upcoming Exynos processor was thought to benefit from this new 10nm process technology, it's quite unlikely that Samsung will manage to churn enough 16nm FinFET chips in time for the Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone. If the Galaxy S7 won't come out with the new 16nm chips, the next generation of smartphones will surely carry the new process manufacturing FinFETs.

It looks like the industry is rushing towards reaching the 10nm threshold fast. With Intel abandoning the race early until 2017, Samsung and TSMC are moving fast towards this goal with Apple in mind. Most of their clients are looking closely at what sort of chips are they manufacturing, and whose quality will be better. TSMC has a bad reputation on their 20nm, but will they improve on their 10nm? We'll see.
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