Samsung Electronics will commence high-volume production of 3nm chips soon, the company stated in a presentation of Q1 results. The announcement not only marks the industry’s first 3nm-class manufacturing process but also the debut of gate-all-around (GAA) field-effect transistors in mass production.
In a GAA FET, the gate completely envelops the channel. This improves the electrostatic characteristics compared to its predecessor, the FinFET. Samsung developed its own version of GAA, called multi-bridge channel field-effect transistors (MBCFETs), which employ nanosheets instead of nanowires. According to the Korean company, this allows for larger currents and enables simpler device integration.
TSMC has scheduled the ramp-up of its 3nm process, which still employs FinFETs, for H2 2022. Until the chips are in the hands of experts, it’s hard to tell how they stack up against each other. Early reports, however, suggest that Samsung’s 3nm is comparable to TSMC’s 5nm in terms of performance and density. There also have been rumors that Samsung has been struggling with low yields.