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TSMC recently declared it would spend an excess $10 billion on capital expenditures in 2021, and it seems as if Samsung may well around match the boost. There are new stories that the Korean giant could create a new $10B foundry in Texas to handle superior logic producing at the 3nm node and below.

Samsung and TSMC get as opposed a great deal — they’re the only two foundries at the moment functioning on the major edge — but the marketplaces they provide are alternatively various. Samsung’s foundry company handles producing its possess Exynos smartphone chips, together with any other personalized SoC work the firm has shipped for other marketplaces. Samsung has very long-time period foundry buyers this sort of as Qualcomm, Nvidia, and IBM, and it is developed logic for Apple in the earlier. But a large percentage of its manufacturing capacity is committed to NAND and DRAM, not logic production. 3D NAND production at Samsung even now makes use of a 40nm approach in accordance to a chat we experienced with Jim Helpful a few months back.

Bloomberg writes that Samsung desires to commence construction of the fab this yr, set up gear in 2022, and have the plant “begin operation” in 2023. This is pretty much certainly a reference to some mild pilot creation as opposed to bringing the whole foundry fully online as a substantial quantity production facility. It commonly can take 2-3 decades to create a foundry, followed by a 6-12 thirty day period production ramp. We wouldn’t be shocked to see the dates change again into 2024, especially if anything at all had been to delay the ramp.

Backlogs at ASML

If you want to etch wafers employing EUV (Excessive Ultraviolet Lithography), you are likely to be shopping for from ASML. The corporation is the premier provider of photolithography gear in the globe, and its production bottlenecks ascertain the level at which foundry customers this sort of as Intel, TSMC, Samsung, GlobalFoundries, and UMC can put in new hardware. Regretably, ASML is at present encountering a manufacturing crunch of its very own.

TSMC-ASML

Internal look at of an early ASML EUV stepper.

Immediately after just about a year of producing “Due to COVID-19” when talking about financial affairs, it is just about fascinating to have anything else to communicate about. For after, the challenge below is not strictly the fault of the coronavirus. ASML’s troubles are related to the limitations the Trump Administration has put on significant-finish semiconductor shipments to specified Chinese firms. When it grew to become obvious that Huawei was heading to reduce obtain to sophisticated nodes at TSMC, the foundry delayed a number of of its EUV machine purchases. Then, late previous summertime or early tumble, Intel also pushed back again a couple EUV purchases of its very own. As a result of these delays, ASML slash its individual creation ideas and explained to its suppliers it would will need pieces for less devices than originally expected.

Here’s exactly where COVID-19 jams its head back again into the photograph. The big surge in semiconductor revenue about the earlier calendar year eventually led firms like TSMC to increase capital paying in 2021. Now, ASML is seeking to accelerate its own generation timeline two quarters just after telling its own suppliers that it wouldn’t be building as substantially components in 2021 as previously predicted. This could guide to devices shortages by means of the upcoming year or two, and limit the skill of semiconductor companies to establish out in the interim.

Normally, when we chat about slow timelines in semiconductor creation, we’re speaking explicitly about new CPU microarchitectures, meaning key node transitions. Multi-yr timelines are explicitly the norm through the overall semiconductor layout, manufacturing, and packaging chain.

If these rumors are genuine, it implies Samsung has no approach to phase absent from primary-edge producing any time before long and may perhaps endeavor to wrest major-tier buyers away from TSMC yet again. Heritage suggests that will not be an easy activity. GlobalFoundries produced identical guarantees immediately after it spun off from AMD. Samsung also had difficulties with its 8nm yields on Ampere, although that circumstance may perhaps have abated due to the fact. Nvidia acknowledged source constraints on Ampere in early December, but it introduced it had inked a offer with Samsung to provide added Ampere playing cards a handful of weeks later. The Korean organization hopes to ship a 3nm node to compete with TSMC in 2022, according to remarks created last calendar year by Park Jae-hong.

Element picture is of Samsung’s Line 2 foundry. 

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