Samsung May Build $10B Foundry in Austin, Texas


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TSMC recently introduced it would invest an added $10 billion on funds expenditures in 2021, and it sounds as if Samsung may close to match the maximize. There are new studies that the Korean big could establish a new $10B foundry in Texas to handle innovative logic producing at the 3nm node and down below.

Samsung and TSMC get compared a lot — they are the only two foundries at present working on the leading edge — but the marketplaces they provide are instead unique. Samsung’s foundry business enterprise handles production its have Exynos smartphone chips, along with any other tailor made SoC function the company has transported for other markets. Samsung has long-phrase foundry clients this kind of as Qualcomm, Nvidia, and IBM, and it’s constructed logic for Apple in the earlier. But a big percentage of its production capacity is dedicated to NAND and DRAM, not logic production. 3D NAND production at Samsung nevertheless makes use of a 40nm approach according to a chat we had with Jim Handy a few months back.

Bloomberg writes that Samsung needs to start development of the fab this 12 months, install equipment in 2022, and have the plant “begin operation” in 2023. This is virtually certainly a reference to some gentle pilot generation as opposed to bringing the total foundry completely on the internet as a high quantity manufacturing facility. It normally will take two-3 decades to establish a foundry, adopted by a six-12 month production ramp. We wouldn’t be astonished to see the dates change back into 2024, particularly if something were being to delay the ramp.

Backlogs at ASML

If you want to etch wafers utilizing EUV (Excessive Ultraviolet Lithography), you’re likely to be shopping for from ASML. The business is the premier supplier of photolithography gear in the entire world, and its generation bottlenecks decide the charge at which foundry consumers this kind of as Intel, TSMC, Samsung, GlobalFoundries, and UMC can install new components. Regretably, ASML is currently encountering a output crunch of its own.


Inside perspective of an early ASML EUV stepper.

After approximately a year of producing “Due to COVID-19” when speaking about financial affairs, it’s nearly fascinating to have some thing else to communicate about. For the moment, the dilemma right here isn’t strictly the fault of the coronavirus. ASML’s concerns are associated to the limitations the Trump Administration has set on high-stop semiconductor shipments to specified Chinese providers. When it became apparent that Huawei was likely to drop accessibility to sophisticated nodes at TSMC, the foundry delayed a couple of of its EUV machine purchases. Then, late very last summer months or early fall, Intel also pushed back again a number of EUV buys of its individual. As a consequence of these delays, ASML cut its individual creation strategies and instructed its suppliers it would have to have areas for less equipment than at first predicted.

Here’s where COVID-19 jams its head back into the image. The massive surge in semiconductor income in excess of the past yr finally led organizations like TSMC to maximize funds paying out in 2021. Now, ASML is striving to accelerate its have creation timeline two quarters after telling its own suppliers that it would not be making as significantly hardware in 2021 as beforehand anticipated. This could guide to tools shortages as a result of the next year or two, and restrict the ability of semiconductor brands to develop out in the interim.

Usually, when we communicate about gradual timelines in semiconductor generation, we’re conversing explicitly about new CPU microarchitectures, meaning major node transitions. Multi-12 months timelines are explicitly the norm during the full semiconductor style, production, and packaging chain.

If these rumors are genuine, it implies Samsung has no strategy to stage away from top-edge production any time soon and may well try to wrest prime-tier customers away from TSMC yet again. Record suggests that will not be an straightforward undertaking. GlobalFoundries built equivalent claims soon after it spun off from AMD. Samsung also experienced problems with its 8nm yields on Ampere, even though that circumstance may well have abated given that. Nvidia acknowledged supply constraints on Ampere in early December, but it announced it had inked a deal with Samsung to source supplemental Ampere playing cards a couple months afterwards. The Korean organization hopes to ship a 3nm node to compete with TSMC in 2022, according to remarks produced final calendar year by Park Jae-hong.

Element picture is of Samsung’s Line 2 foundry. 

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