The Korea Herald


Samsung, UK's Arm team up to produce advanced AI chips

High-profile collaboration to improve efficiency of new chip development

By Jo He-rim

Published : Feb. 21, 2024 - 15:10

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Samsung Electronics’ chip plant in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province (Samsung Electronics) Samsung Electronics’ chip plant in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province (Samsung Electronics)

Samsung Foundry, Samsung Electronics' chip manufacturing arm, is teaming up with the UK's Arm to adopt the firm's design assets for Samsung's most advanced chip-making process technology, Gate-All-Around, which aims to boost the company's edge in the global AI chip sector.

Samsung Foundry announced Wednesday that it will deliver the next generation Arm Cortex™-X CPU optimized on its cutting-edge Gaa process technology.

The collaboration between the two companies is expected to accelerate access to the optimized implementation of the GAA technology for fabless businesses, and minimize the time and cost of next-generation product development, Samsung Foundry said.

GAA technology is an advanced chip architecture that allows for further device scaling beyond the existing FinFET process that is widely in use. The GAA process technology improves power efficiency with reduced supply voltage level, and enhances performance with higher drive current capability, Samsung explained.

Samsung, holding about 12 percent of the market share in the global foundry market, was the first in the industry to introduce GAA technology at 3 nanometers in 2022. TSMC, which is leading the global foundry market taking over 57 percent market share, said it plans to introduce GAA from 2025 for 2 nm production.

“Both Samsung and Arm have built a solid foundation from many years of collaboration. This unprecedented level of deep design technology co-optimization has resulted in a ground-breaking accomplishment, providing access to the newest Cortex-CPU on the latest GAA process node," Kye Jong-wook, executive vice president and head of foundry design platform development at Samsung Electronics said.

Chris Bergey, senior vice president and general manager of client business of Arm highlighted the longstanding collaboration with Samsung has delivered leading-edge innovation.

“Optimizing Cortex-X and Cortex-A processors on the latest Samsung process node underscores our shared vision to redefine what’s possible in mobile computing, and we look forward to continuing to push boundaries to meet the relentless performance and efficiency demands of the AI era," Bergey said.

The latest announcement sets the stage for further collaborations between the two companies. Samsung said the two sides have "bold" plans to reinvent 2-nanometer GAA for next-generation data center and infrastructure custom silicon, as well as a groundbreaking AI chiplet solution that will revolutionize the future of the generative AI mobile computing market.

Samsung also explained that Samsung and Arm teams embraced design-technology co-optimization, under which the two work together from the very beginning to create their final products.

The two companies have joined hands to come up with the optimization process to deliver products on time, while ensuring "first-time-right" silicon with the most competitive power, performance and area attributes, Samsung said.

Samsung Foundry and Arm have been working together for more than a decade, and they announced they will expand their collaboration to 7 nm and 5 nm pincer process technologies in July 2018.

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong also has an amicable relationship with Masayoshi Son, the founder and CEO of Softbank Group, which is Arm's largest shareholder. The two met to discuss cooperation when Son visited Korea in October 2022.

According to market tracker Omdia, the global foundry market is expected to show an average growth of 13.8 percent annually from 2023 to 2026. For the more advanced 3 nm chip process, the average annual growth rate is anticipated at 64.8 percent, growing from $7.39 billion in 2023 to $33 billion in 2026.