South Korean manufacturing giant, Samsung has completed the research and development of the new 7nm process and the company is six months ahead of schedule. This ensures that Samsung and TSMC will lock horns for the orders of Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 OEM although some report claims that TSMC already received some SD855 orders. Since the beginning of the 16/14nm node, the battle between Samsung and TSMC has become increasingly fierce, and they have continued to make huge investments to accelerate the development of new processes. Right now, 10nm processes from both companies have been successfully commercialized. While TSMC got Huawei Kirin 970 and the Apple A11, Samsung got Qualcomm Snapdragon 845.
On the 7nm process, TSMC has long concluded its research and development and Huawei is already ready to use TSMC’s 7nm process to mass produce the Kirin 980 this quarter. In addition, reports have it that TSMC 7nm process also has orders for Apple A13. Samsung has invested in EUV lithography which is more advanced and extremely difficult at 7nm and they are the first to complete this tech. It was originally expected to be completed in the second half of this year, but it did not expect to take more than half a year in advance. Inspired by this, Qualcomm has already sent new chip samples to Samsung for testing and it is not known whether it is the Snapdragon 855.
Prior to this, Samsung had already announced that the 7nm process had won orders for Qualcomm’s 5G chips and that once the progress goes smoothly, the acquisition of Snapdragon 855 would be seamless. According to sources, the Samsung 7nm R&D team has completed its tasks and has completely turned to the development of the 5nm process. While the two processes share the design database (DB), the difficulty of the next step will be greatly reduced. TSMC plans to try EUV lithography on a 7nm upgrade. The timing is scheduled for next year. TSMC full application of EUV will result in the 5nm process in 2020 which will make TSMC far behind Samsung. As of now, Intel’s 10nm has not yet come out thus it is possible that TSMC could fall behind.