Samsung is the first chip maker to create a new technology, which will eventually be used by all major chip makers and pave the way for all types of computer chips, including from Intel, Nvidia and AMD. This is called gate-all-round (GAA), and it changes the way that all of our technical product manufacturing blocks will be made into transistors.
GAA (sometimes referred to as GAAFET) is what replaces the FinFET technology that is widely used today. It is a new technology that uses a gate wrapped around multiple transistor channels. This is a bit different with FinFET, which uses a single fan as a channel connected to the door on three sides.
Why is this remarkable? GAA is basically the ability to store multiple channels on top of each other; Multiple channels, large measuring capacity. This is why GAA is so key for very compact process nodes such as 3nm and 2nm. Another thing is that GAAFet channels can be arranged in width from wires to sheets, which can then help reduce and increase performance with each node.
Samsung calls its GAA technology “Multi-Bridge-Channel FET”, or MBCFET for short, and with this new MBCFET technology this new 3nm process node is now in the early stages of production. This new technology from MBCFET “eliminates FinFET performance limitations, improves power efficiency by reducing supply voltage levels, while increasing performance by increasing driving capacity,” Samsung says.
The first-generation 3nm process node outside of Samsung aims for a 45% reduction in power consumption, 23% faster performance, and 16% less space than the current 5nm process. From there, Samsung hopes to build chips with its second-generation 3nm process that is 50% more efficient, 30% faster, and 35% smaller.
This is a serious step that could lead to some fun processors from Samsung partners at the time. Right now, Samsung has a huge gaming customer that we all know well, and that’s Nvidia. Samsung today is responsible for building the RTX 30 series on its 8nm process node.
(Opens in new tab)
Whether Nvidia will stay with Samsung for future cards though remains to be seen. There are rumors that Green Team may switch back to TSMC for its 4nm process node, but this has not yet been confirmed by the company itself. However, this would not be entirely unexpected. Nvidia used to type TSMC for all its graphics card needs but recently switched to Samsung, which in the past only worked with low-end cards.
TSMC is the primary chip maker for the entire AMD lineup, including CPUs and GPUs. This single chip maker may become very important for computer games in the near future.
Samsung may be ahead for now, but TSMC won’t be far behind. In fact, all major players have a GAA version at work, including Intel with its equivalent “RibbonFET” (Opens in new tab)“, Which will be an integral part of the 20A process node coming in 2024; and TSMC, which plans to create something similar to this N2 process node. (Opens in new tab) In 2025. TSMC and Intel may announce the first production of these chips before this set date, now that Samsung has launched the launch pistol.
For today, however, it is Samsung, the company looking to take part in TSMC’s growing business, that has the potential to claim the first win.