Samsung is going to start manufacturing 7nm processors later this year, and the Galaxy S10 might very well be the first handset on the market next year with a 7m chip. The company also reportedly started building a production line for its 7nm chips three months back.
However, more details have emerged about its plans to squeeze a bit more out of Moore’s Law.
Samsung announced four destinations on its processor road map, though it didn't announce much in the way of its planned schedule for getting there.
- This year, it'll start building chips with a 7-nanometer (7nm) process employing extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. EUV permits smaller features to be etched onto the silicon wafers that are the substrate for chip features.
- Next, a 5nm process will shrink electronics while lowering power consumption, a key advantage for mobile devices that live on battery power.
- A 4nm process will shrink electronics another notch and boost performance, Samsung said. It'll be the last chipmaking generation to use a transistor technology called FinFET. The transistor component that controls whether current flows through that channel, called the gate, is in effect draped across the fin.
- Last comes a 3nm process technology called gate all around, or GAA. It replaces the fin with an electrical channel that looks more like wires, and the gate surrounds it completely instead of being draped across the top.
Samsung said that its 3-nanometer technology will work around the physical scaling and performance limitations of the FinFET architecture by developing its unique GAA technology MBCFET (Multi-Bridge-Channel FET).
Sadly there is no timetable for any of this - it is all just a cunning plan at the moment. Samsung didn't comment on how it expects the cost per transistor to change in its future roadmap.