7nm EUV of Samsung helps it to get foundry business of Power processor from a big customer, IBM
Globalfoundries(GF for short) suddenly announced that it would stop research and manufacturing of processes below 7nm at the end of August, which resulted in AMD announcing it would give all 7nm orders to TSMC. Not only is AMD affected by GF stopping 7nm foundry, but also IBM, another major client of GF, is affected. Power 9 processor of the latter also used 14nm process of GF, so it is necessary for IBM to find a new foundry. IBM has chosen TSMC to provide 7nm foundry for Power processor according to source earlier. However, both IBM and Samsung have announced they will expand strategic cooperation, in addition, Samsung will use 7nm EUV process for the foundry of IBM’s Power processor.
Samsung has cooperated with IBM in semiconductor processes for at least 15 years, as OpenPower and one of the research alliance, whose FinFET technologies are also benefit from IBM’s technologies. Now they will expand their cooperation to another decade. IBM chooses Samsung as the foundry of Power processor in the future.
IBM will use 7nm EUV process of Samsung to produce its Power processor and other HPC products in the future according to cooperation information from both sides. The mass production of the process begins in October this year. According to Samsung 7nm LPP process helps to reduce 20% of optical mask procedure which simplifies whole manufacturing processes and saving more time and costs, with a 40% increase of area energy efficiency and a 50% decline of power dissipation.
The cooperation of Samsung and IBM lacks details. Now Power 9 uses 14nm process with foundry of GF, then the next generation of Power 10 is programmed to use 10nm process, finally the Power 11 will use 7nm process. Due to change of foundry, it is not sure that IBM will skip 10nm node to use 7nm or continue using 10nm process.
As TSMC almost has a monopoly in all 7nm orders for Samsung, it is crucial for Samsung to get a big client, IBM, to expand its foundry business. What’s more, the cooperation of IBM will be a advertising for Samsung’s 7nm EUV process, which will help getting more clients form TSMC.