Samsung Taping Out 32nm Foundry Designs

Samsung has foundry customers taping out on 32nm and expects to be in risk production on 32nm in the next few month, Ana Hunter, Samsung’s foundry vice president, told EW at the Globalpress Summit Conference in Santa Cruz earlier this week.

Samsung’s play for the foundry industry is predicated on large fabs offering advanced nodes

“It’s a very important business for us – a strategic growth engine – we entered it after several years of study about what could provide significant growth for Samsung,”  says Hunter

Asked why Samsung sees foundry as a growth driver at a time when TSMC is finding growth so elusive in the foundry business that it is diversifying into photovoltaic and LED, Hunter replies.

“Samsung is relatively small as a foundry and we see opportunities for growth. We think the market wants choices at advanced technology nodes. There are not many who can provide 32nm, 28nm and 2nm – we see a market for that.”

Asked if Samsung would have to build 100,000 wafer a month GigaFabs to compete on cost with TSMC, Hunter replies: “Scale is a factor. We’re making our foundry wafers in a fab which is running 40,000 wafers a month.”

Samsung’s foundry strategy is to go for the high-priced, high-end, advanced segment of the industry.

“We focus on advanced technology nodes – 45nm and prototyping on 32nm,” says Hunter, “we have customers taping out on 32nm in Q3 on our high k, low power process for mobile applications. Risk production on 32nm will start in a few months.”

Samsung is looking for more foundry customers. “We’ve started with a handful of companies we want to work with including Qualcomm and Xilinx,” says Hunter, “and we’re looking for additional customers who want advanced technology nodes.”

Samsung is on the green trail, says Hunter, having reduced the energy required to make a wafer by 57% since 2001 and its air emissions by 62% per wafer since 2001. It recycles 65% of its water and 92% of its waste. It has reduced power consumption by 50% at each node from 90nm to 65nm to 40/45nm and to 28nm.

Tags: fabs, foundry business, prototyping, wafers, Xilinx

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