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Samsung talks chip plans at Tech Day in San Jose

Samsung has gone public with new silicon and outlined plans for its semiconductor business at its Samsung Tech Day 2022 in San Jose, including upcoming DRAM and NAND flash developments.

The semiconductor giant’s annual conference featured presentations from Samsung’s Memory and System LSI business leaders, discussing the latest advancements and its vision for the future.

The latter included the System LSI Business reiterating its intention of becoming a “total solution fabless” design house that not only makes semiconductor products of its own, but can also create ones for customers by merging the various logic technologies into a single package.

“Samsung will converge and combine its technology embedded in various products like SoC, sensor, DDI and modem, in order to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a total solution provider,” said Samsung’s President and Head of System LSI Business, Yong-In Park.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which revolves around the automation and digitization of manufacturing, was a key theme at the event. The company sees its contribution coming in areas like neural processing, and said it aims to develop the performance of such chips to a level at which they can carry out human tasks just as well as people can, but gave no timescale for when it expected to hit this ambitious goal.

The event follows the chipmaker’s earlier Foundry Forum in the same city, where it detailed plans to have 2nm chips in mass production for customers by 2025, and 1.4nm chips by 2027.

On the memory side, Samsung said its fifth generation of 10nm-class (1b) DRAM is under development, with mass production scheuled to start in 2023. It is also looking beyond the 10nm range, and developing technologies such as High-K materials to overcome the challenges of producing DRAM using smaller process nodes, it said.

Samsung’s V-NAND flash technology is currently in its eighth generation, and the company said that its 512Gb triple-level cell (TLC) products will be joined by a high capacity 1Tb TLC version that will be available to customers by the end of the year.

The ninth generation of V-NAND is now under development and slated for mass production in 2024. Samsung forecast that by 2030 its flash products will have over 1,000 layers, up from about 176 today. Samsung also said it is planning a transition to quad-level cell (QLC) V-NAND as AI and big data applications drive the need for faster and higher capacity flash products.

Also on the storage side, Samsung unveiled what it calls a new DRAM-less SSD, the PM9C1a, which supports both PCIe 4.0 and 5.0 host interfaces, but did not disclose any further details.

Samsung also announced its intent to expand trade partnerships, and said it will open a Samsung Memory Research Center (SMRC) where customers and vendors will be able to test and verify Samsung memory and software in various server environments.

The first SMRC is set to open in Korea in the fourth quarter of this year, but Samsung has plans to launch additional hubs in the US and around the world, in collaboration with companies including Red Hat and Google. ®


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