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Samsung to manufacture IBM’s 7nm Power10 Processor

Posted August. 18, 2020 07:28,   

Updated August. 18, 2020 07:28


Samsung Electronics will manufacture IBM’s next-generation central processing unit (CPU). Unveiling the next-generation server CPU “IBM Power10” on Monday (local time), IBM said it will produce its latest processor chip for servers using Samsung’s EUV-based 7nm process. So Samsung’s competitiveness in the non-memory semiconductor sector has been proven once again as IBM has chosen the South Korean tech giant over TSMC, the leader in the global semiconductor foundry sector, as the supplier of the IBM Power10.

“Samsung Electronics and IBM have been partnering on the research and development of foundry process technology for over 10 years,” said an industry insider. “This announcement is of great significance in that the cooperation between the two companies has expanded to foundry production.”

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is known to have played a significant role in winning the bid to produce IBM’s latest Power10 processor. Lee attended the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference held in Sun Valley, Idaho in 2016 and met with then IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, to discuss their cooperation on future technologies, such as cloud and artificial intelligence (AI). The Sun Valley Conference is an unofficial annual gathering of the world’s greatest IT and financial moguls.

IBM is planning to release IBM Power10-based servers in the latter half of next year. The IBM Power10, which is a mix of IBM’s semiconductor design technology and Samsung’s EUV 7nm process, boasts up to three times greater processor energy efficiency compared to its predecessor. The latest processor chip is the first among IBM products to adopt EUV 7nm process. Although IBM is behind Intel and AMD in the server CPU market, it is aiming to expand its market share by releasing new products, including IBM Power10.

Samsung is advancing its process technology according to its “Semiconductor Vision 2030,” where it aims to become No. 1 in the global non-memory market by 2030. “Let’s not stop the challenge so that the small semiconductors made here can contain the dream of human contribution to society,” Lee said while visiting the company’s EUV-dedicated line in Hawseong earlier in February.

Samsung began shipments of 7nm-based chips in April last year and has recently started the mass production of 5nm-based chips. The IT giant has become the industry’s first to produce a three-dimensional (3D) system-on-chip (SoC) test chip based on 7nm process.

Dong-Il Seo dong@donga.com