Samsung says it has the future of DRAM sorted after success with new EUV process

Already shipped a million units to good reviews, now says DDR5 will launch in 2021


Samsung is confident it has the future of DRAM in the bag after successfully producing memory using a cutting-edge EUV-based lithography process.

EUV technology uses short-wavelength ultraviolet light that are close to soft X-rays. The result is smaller features, and a potentially cheaper and simpler manufacturing process, compared to today's semiconductors and fabrication techniques.

The Korean giant today said it's already produced one million EUV-fabbed 10nm DDR4 DRAM chips and that customers liked what they saw.

The South Korean giant added that it would use the new technology to make all future generations of its DRAM, starting with its 10nm and 14nm models. The company expects to use the technology to mass produce next-gen memory technology, DDR5 and LPDDR5, as early as next year.

The first batches of EUV ships emerged from its new V1 fab in Hwaseong, Korea, which opened last month after US$6bn of up-front investment.

But even with that colossal capital outlay, EUV is attractive because it requires fewer mask levels – a mask is a key component in the lithography process – which means faster production. The tech can also reduce repetitive steps in the fabrication process and do it more accurately, reducing production times.

Chipmakers have been working towards EUV adoption for years, with companies like Intel touting the technology since as far back as 2001. But development has been slow and hit more than a few speed bumps. The main problem has been that the new tech has taken time to refine and put into mass production: for one thing, it requires many companies to build entirely new facilities.

"With the production of our new EUV-based DRAM, we are demonstrating our full commitment toward providing revolutionary DRAM solutions in support of our global IT customers," said Samsung's exec veep of DRAM, Jung-bae Lee.

"This major advancement underscores how we will continue contributing to global IT innovation through timely development of leading-edge process technologies and next-generation memory products for the premium memory market.”

Although Samsung is the first company to use EUV to make DRAM, it is not the first to use the tech overall. Late last year, TSMC began shipping products based on its N7+ 7nm chips, which are made using the new technology. The semiconductor giant said the chips produced using the new tech provide 15 to 20 per cent higher transistor density, as well as 10 per cent lower power consumption than its N7 chips made using conventional methods. Intel is also developing its own EUV technology.

Together with its new V1 facility, Samsung has six fabs between South Korea and the US. The company will start operation on a second DRAM fab in Pyeongtaek, South Korea in the second half of this year. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading
  • Utility biz Delta-Montrose Electric Association loses billing capability and two decades of records after cyber attack

    All together now - R, A, N, S, O...

    A US utility company based in Colorado was hit by a ransomware attack in November that wiped out two decades' worth of records and knocked out billing systems that won't be restored until next week at the earliest.

    The attack was detailed by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) in a post on its website explaining that current customers won't be penalised for being unable to pay their bills because of the incident.

    "We are a victim of a malicious cyber security attack. In the middle of an investigation, that is as far as I’m willing to go," DMEA chief exec Alyssa Clemsen Roberts told a public board meeting, as reported by a local paper.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021