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Samsung deploys 3D chip packaging technology to start a game with TSMC.

Published :9/17/2020 3:11:03 AM

Click Count:2103

At Apple's autumn conference, the Apple A14 Bionic processor, which is manufactured by TSMC's most advanced 5nm process, has been unveiled first and is expected to be carried on Apple's new iPhone and the new generation of iPad Air tablets.


And TSMC’s competitor, Samsung’s development in advanced manufacturing processes is not too much. Recently, it has been reported that the mobile processor leader Qualcomm’s latest flagship mobile processor, Snapdragon 875, has been awarded an order, showing that TSMC and Samsung are in advanced The fierce competition between you and me in the process.


According to reports from South Korean media, the current two wafer foundries with the world’s top technology are currently not only competing in advanced manufacturing processes, but also expanding their battlefields to the scope of advanced packaging to grasp the future Business.


The report pointed out that TSMC and Samsung are currently the leaders in the advanced process of the global foundry industry, but in recent years TSMC has always been ahead of Samsung in the development of advanced processes. For example, in the advanced manufacturing processes of 7nm and 5nm, TSMC was the first to commercialize the products, and the product yield rate was also high, which made TSMC have always been favored by most market customers recently, and thus won many orders. In this regard, Samsung, which is still lagging behind at this stage, obviously has to take some measures to reverse its disadvantages. Therefore, it has further extended the foundry process to chip packaging to continue to compete with TSMC.


A few days ago, the South Korean supply chain pointed out that Samsung has deployed 3D chip packaging technology since last month, with the goal of seeking to compete with TSMC in the field of advanced chip packaging in 2022. It is understood that Samsung’s 3D chip advanced packaging technology is named "eXtended-Cube", or "X-Cube" for short. It has been demonstrated in mid-August and will use 7-nanometer process technology to provide customers with related products. .


Compared with Samsung's big move, of course, the current foundry leader TSMC has also developed advanced chip packaging technology. According to TSMC’s previous demonstrations during the Global Technology Forum and the Open Innovation Platform Ecosystem Forum, TSMC also already has 3D silicon stacking and advanced packaging technology series and services, with the purpose of providing customers with powerful and flexible interconnectivity and advanced Packaging technology to unleash their innovation.


According to Wei Zhejia, President of Japan Frontier Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd., after developing advanced manufacturing processes, TSMC found that the current 2D semiconductor scaling is no longer in line with future heterogeneous integration requirements. This makes the 3D semiconductor scaling developed by TSMC meet future system performance, reduce area, and integrate different functions. the way.


Therefore, TSMC later decided to consolidate advanced 3D packaging technology platforms such as CoWoS, InFO-R, Chip on Wafer, and Wafer on Wafer. In the future, they will be collectively named "TSMC 3DFabric". In the future, this platform will continue to provide interface connection solutions. In order to meet the needs of customers integrating logic chips, high-bandwidth memory and special process chips.


The report further emphasized that TSMC and Samsung are fiercely competing in the field of chip advanced packaging. The reason is that the advanced chip manufacturing process is increasingly restricted by the limits of Moore's Law, and the development of advanced packaging will be the key to the next generation of semiconductors. Therefore, whoever can grasp the key will also be able to get the first chance to win in the competition.


However, with regard to the competition between TSMC and Samsung in advanced chip packaging technology, the report also indicated that it may have an impact on the main businesses of the original semiconductor packaging and testing companies, including packaging and testing manufacturers ASE and Sipin. TSMC and Samsung’s master skills have been extended to the 3nm process. Of course, how the two 3nm are defined remains to be considered.


At the end of last year, TSMC announced that its nearly US$20 billion 3nm wafer fab has officially passed the environmental assessment standards. It is expected to start construction in 2020, trial production in the next year, and enter mass production between 2022 and 2023.


This will be the first plant built for the 3nm process.

           ▲Technical roadmap of Samsung foundry process node (Source: ExtremeTech)


Samsung's statement on the 3nm process is not very unified. At the IEDM meeting in December last year, Eun Seung Jung, head of Samsung's foundry business, said that Samsung has completed the performance verification of the 3nm process technology and is further improving the process with the goal of mass production in 2020. However, according to foreign media Tom’s Hardware, Samsung will start mass production of 3nm GAA (full ring gate technology) process as early as 2021.


However, most people in the industry expressed that they did not believe that Samsung's 3nm chips could be put into production before 2022.


If in accordance with the established plans of the two companies, TSMC and Samsung are likely to stage a primary showdown on the 3nm process in 2022. As for the future development trend, it remains to be further observed.