Samsung Details 11LPP Process Technology: 10 nm BEOL Meets 14 nm Elementsby Anton Shilov on September 29, 2017 12:00 PM EST
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Samsung has added a new manufacturing technology into its roadmap. The 11LPP fabrication process is designed for mainstream and higher-end smartphone SoCs. The technology will come online next year and will build upon the company’s 14- as well as 10 nm-branded process technologies.
The Samsung 11LPP process is another hybrid process technology designed to speed up migration from one node to another by Samsung Foundry. Notably, the new node is not another 14LPP-based offering featuring 20 nm BEOL (back end of line) interconnects. Instead 11LPP is based on Samsung’s 10 nm BEOL and therefore enables smaller chips than technologies based on Samsung's 14 nm-branded offerings. Meanwhile, the 11LPP still uses some of the elements featured by Samsung's 14LPP fabrication process.
Last October Samsung began to produce ICs using its 10LPE (10 nm low-power early) manufacturing tech and these days Samsung is getting ready to start producing semiconductors using its 10LPP (10 nm low power plus) process. The company uses both fabrication technologies to make leading edge SoCs for smartphones and other devices, whereas mainstream, low-power and compact chips are to be products using its 14 nm-branded technologies.
The 11LPP will fill the gap between the 10 nm and 14 nm-based offerings. The technology is designed primarily to increase transistor density and provide further improvements on the frequency, transistor count and, to some degree, power consumption fronts. Samsung promises that it will deliver up to 15% higher performance compared to the 14LPP at the same transistor count and power. Furthermore, the 11LPP will enable up to a 10% area reduction at the same transistor count when compared to the 14LPP. In addition, the 11LPP will enable higher transistor density when compared to the 14LPP fabrication process.
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Sometime next year, the company intends to start producing its most advanced SoCs using its 7LPP technology featuring EUV for select layers and thus speeding up their cycle times. Meanwhile, the introduction of the first commercial EUV process is not going to stop evolution of DUV technologies. In the coming quarters, Samsung intends to introduce its 14LPU and 10LPU fabrication processes for ultra-low-power applications as well as its all-new 11LPP, which will enable existing customers to shrink their SoCs.
Samsung expects to begin production using its 11LPP manufacturing technology in the second half of 2018. Exact 11LPP high-volume manufacturing schedule of Samsung’s customers depends on their plans.
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Gondalf - Friday, September 29, 2017 - linkIt resembles much GloFo 12nm. The area reduction over 14nm is negligible, the speedup very likely between 5 and 10% on high power SKUs......my bet is on single digit.
High power devices always gain less clock speed in the node change.
ImSpartacus - Friday, September 29, 2017 - linkWhat, so why can't we just move to 10nm?
I mean, they are on a second gen 10nm, but we can just move 14nm designs to 10nm?
I feel like I'm missing something. Does this 11nm "halfway" point make it THAT much easier to upgrade a 14nm design? I know design costs have been going up.
jjj - Friday, September 29, 2017 - linkThe entire point with 8nm is that it's not using EUV,
ImSpartacus - Friday, September 29, 2017 - linkI get that EUV is a big deal, but it's that relevant here? I mean, Samsung's 10nm and 14nm aren't using EUV, right?
Tabalan - Friday, September 29, 2017 - linkNo, 14 nm, 11 nm, 10 nm and 8 nm are or will be using DUV. Samsung will start manufacturing with EUV during 7 nm. So no, it is not relevant.
It seems 10 nm is still not mature enough for bigger chips, these will be produced using 14 nm or 11 nm. This way 11 nm process node seems like worth considering option.
jjj - Friday, September 29, 2017 - linkMy post wasn't intended as a reply to yours.
11nm is in response to TSMC's 12nm and 11 is lower than 12 so LOL.
The naming schemes are getting out of hand and Samsung is just spamming with versions of their process.
They went with EUV at 7nm and that means it's rather late so TSMC got all the wins and now Samsung is just going nuts and confusing everybody.
ImSpartacus - Sunday, October 1, 2017 - linkI get that 11nm is less than 12nm and there are marketing considerations for that.
But Samsung could've just refreshed their 14nm and called it 11nm, similar to how the other 12nm processes turned out. But this 11nm seems like it's a slightly bigger deal than that.
Andrei Frumusanu - Saturday, September 30, 2017 - linkIt seems to make sense that 11LPP would avoid using triple-patterning which is required at 10LPE/LPP. This alone would make it worth it as a dedicated process for cost-sensitive applications.
ImSpartacus - Sunday, October 1, 2017 - linkThis article was posted on Reddit and one user claimed that 11nm will not use the 10nm BEOL, being more of just a rebranded optimization of 14nm.
Honestly, this seems more plausible to me.
psychobriggsy - Monday, October 2, 2017 - linkYes, that would make more sense, as that would match what GlobalFoundries are doing with their 12nm, which achieves similar density and performance gains as this 11nm Samsung process by tightening the 14nm process metrics.
However, that doesn't mean that Samsung's 11nm process isn't just a slightly relaxed 10nm process, perhaps with fewer 10nm metal layers than the full-fat 10nm process, which would reduce costs somewhat, whilst reducing achieved density.