Samsung Electronics has begun volume production of semiconductors using 14nm FinFET fabrication process in accordance with its plans outlined earlier this year. The company does not disclose which chips it produces using its 14LPE (low-power early) manufacturing technology and for which companies.
Kim Ki-nam, president of Samsung's semiconductor business and head of System LSI business, said in an interview with ZDNet that the contract maker of semiconductor had started making chips using its 14nm FinFET technology. Earlier this month Chinese web-site Expreview reported that at lease one of Samsung’s production facilities had started volume production using the 14LPE process.
According to Samsung, its 14nm LPE process technology allows to boost performance of 20nm chips by 20 per cent at the same power or cut power consumption by 35 per cent without decreasing their performance or complexity. The process relies on back-end-of-line (BEOL) interconnects of 20nm manufacturing technology and does not significantly reduce costs of chips compared to the previous-generation node.
At present it is unclear what kind of chips Samsung produces using its latest 14nm FinFET technology. Some rumours suggest that the conglomerate is making its next-generation Exynos system-on-chip for mobile devices, whereas the other rumours imply that the company manufactures application processors for Apple’s Watch device.
Samsung’s 14LPE (low-power early) and 14LPP (low-power plus) fabrication processes eventually will be used to make chips at three semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the world: Samsung’s S2 fab in Austin, Texas, USA; Samsung’s S3 fab in HwaSeong, South Korea; GlobalFoundries’ fab 8 in Saratoga, New York, USA.
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KitGuru Says: Looks like Samsung Electronics has beaten Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. with the start of mass production using 14nm FinFET process technology by at least half of a year. Moreover, Samsung is only about three or four months behind Intel Corp., which started volume production using 14nm FinFET tech in August. Still, it should be noted that Intel’s 14nm technology is more progressive than Samsung’s since it uses “true” 14nm BEOL and enables the chip giant to shrink sizes of its designs from 22nm.