Monday, April 6th 2020

SMIC 7nm-class N+1 Foundry Node Going Live by Q4-2020

China's state-backed SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation) has set an ambitious target of Q4-2020 for its 7 nanometer-class N+1 foundry node to go live, achieving "small scale production," according to a cnTechPost report. The company has a lot of weight on its shoulders as geopolitical hostility between the U.S. and China threatens to derail the country's plans to dominate 5G technology markets around the world. The SMIC N+1 node is designed to improve performance by 20%, reduce chip power consumption by 57%, reduce logic area by 63%, and reduce SoC area by 55%, in comparison to the SMIC's 14 nm FinFET node, Chinese press reports citing a statement from SMIC's co-CEO Dr. Liang Mengsong.

Dr. Liang confirmed that the N+1 7 nm node and its immediate successor will not use EUV lithography. N+1 will receive a refinement in the form of N+2, with modest chip power consumption improvement goals compared to N+1. This is similar to SMIC's 12 nm FinFET node being a refinement of its 14 nm FinFET node. Later down its lifecycle, once the company has got a handle of its EUV lithography equipment, N+2 could receive various photomasks, including a switch to EUV at scale.
SMIC is at the receiving end of increased investment. Despite a revenue of $3 billion in 2019, its capital expenditure is expected to reach $3.1 billion this year, as the company sets up a new 12-inch wafer fab in Shanghai for $2 billion, and invests a further $500 million to add 12-inch capacity to its Beijing fab. The Chinese semiconductor industry is racing against time to provide the likes of Huawei with viable alternatives to cutting-edge foreign fabs like Samsung and TSMC. New U.S. regulation disrupting Huawei's access to TSMC will only accelerate development of sub-10 nm nodes at mainland Chinese companies like SMIC.
Sources: cnTechPost, WCCFTech
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22 Comments on SMIC 7nm-class N+1 Foundry Node Going Live by Q4-2020

#1
Flanker
Don't they still have to rely on machines from ASML?
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#2
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Flanker
Don't they still have to rely on machines from ASML?
They do, and they just bought up EUV machines from them.
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#3
Patriot
Flanker
Don't they still have to rely on machines from ASML?
And trade secrets stolen from TSMC
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#4
Flanker
Patriot
And trade secrets stolen from TSMC
The upper management of SMIC has many former TSMC staff. I think they have that sorted lol
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#5
Tomorrow
Chinese foundry on 7nm before Intel? You would have called me crazy had i said this 5 years ago.
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#6
TheLostSwede
btarunr
They do, and they just bought up EUV machines from them.
Bought, but had nothing shipped as yet, since the US is trying to prevent the sale.
Tomorrow
Chinese foundry on 7nm before Intel? You would have called me crazy had i said this 5 years ago.
It's not 7nm, it's 7nm class, hence why they call it N+1. In other words, it's something like 10-14nm which SMIC claims performs similar to 7nm.
Posted on Reply
#7
Tomorrow
TheLostSwede
Bought, but had nothing shipped as yet, since the US is trying to prevent the sale.


It's not 7nm, it's 7nm class, hence why they call it N+1. In other words, it's something like 10-14nm which SMIC claims performs similar to 7nm.
Yes i know. Still a great achievement for the chinese.
Posted on Reply
#8
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
Tomorrow
Yes i know. Still a great achievement for the chinese.
Anything is possible when you steal trade secrets and are backed by an authoritarian regime with a lot of cash.
Posted on Reply
#9
XiGMAKiD
btarunr
They do, and they just bought up EUV machines from them.
And in the process of reverse engineering said machines ;)
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#10
TheLostSwede
Tomorrow
Yes i know. Still a great achievement for the chinese.
How so? They're using the same machines as every other foundry have access to. It's not as if this is something revolutionary.
Why is it that when the chinese does something, it's a great achievement, but when some other country who's way ahead does something, it's just everyday mundane stuff?
If anything, TSMC ought to be the ones that should be getting kudos for making great achievements, as they're a publicly traded company in a small nation that's not even recognised by most of the world, as they make more ICs on cutting edge tech than any other foundry in the world.
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#11
Tomorrow
TheLostSwede
How so? They're using the same machines as every other foundry have access to. It's not as if this is something revolutionary.
Why is it that when the chinese does something, it's a great achievement, but when some other country who's way ahead does something, it's just everyday mundane stuff?
If anything, TSMC ought to be the ones that should be getting kudos for making great achievements, as they're a publicly traded company in a small nation that's not even recognised by most of the world, as they make more ICs on cutting edge tech than any other foundry in the world.
Easy now. Every time someone mentions Intels lack of node progress or Chinese achievements people get worked up about it.
I for one welcome more competition in the market.
Posted on Reply
#12
TheLostSwede
Tomorrow
Easy now. Every time someone mentions Intels lack of node progress or Chinese achievements people get worked up about it.
I for one welcome more competition in the market.
I think you're not really understanding how things work. China doesn't make this kind of progress on a level playing field. They have forcefully gained a lot of this technology, one way or another.
I for one will never condone any progress made in a dictatorship, regardless which one it is.
Posted on Reply
#13
Tomorrow
TheLostSwede
I think you're not really understanding how things work. China doesn't make this kind of progress on a level playing field. They have forcefully gained a lot of this technology, one way or another.
I for one will never condone any progress made in a dictatorship, regardless which one it is.
Do you have any data to back up this earthshattering revelation or are you using your crystal ball?

I don't see other foundries complaining. So either China has managed to obtain these trade secrets and knowhow completely under the radar without anyone noticing or they are in fact competing on level playing field.

Yes it's possible to steal secrets and buy machines but one thing you can't steal or buy is brains. They need a lot of smart people designing and manufacturing this silicon and operating these multi million dollar machines. We're not talking about a bread cooking recipe here that one neighbor stole from another.

It seems you might be underestimating how smart those people are and your comments are borderline racist.
Posted on Reply
#14
TheLostSwede
Tomorrow
Do you have any data to back up this earthshattering revelation or are you using your crystal ball?

I don't see other foundries complaining. So either China has managed to obtain these trade secrets and knowhow completely under the radar without anyone noticing or they are in fact competing on level playing field.

Yes it's possible to steal secrets and buy machines but one thing you can't steal or buy is brains. They need a lot of smart people designing and manufacturing this silicon and operating these multi million dollar machines. We're not talking about a bread cooking recipe here that one neighbor stole from another.

It seems you might be underestimating how smart those people are and your comments are borderline racist.
Nothing under the radar, they've hired people from Taiwan that has previously worked for UMC, TSMC etc. and learnt from them. Taiwan isn't thrilled about this, but I guess you knew that, right?

And in all fairness, we are talking about bread baking (not cooking, you don't cook bread) recipes here, as so much of this is standardised when it comes to manufacturing ICs. This is assuming the IC designer knew what he/she was doing, which isn't always the case. Sure, cutting edge isn't that simple, but when you make commodity parts, it's a lot easier today than what I was some years ago.

Yeah, I'm racist, I only live and work in Taiwan and have done so for over 13 years...
I have issues with dictatorships that bully their neighbours though...
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#15
Mouth of Sauron
I mainly feel a vibe that suddenly 'not all competition is good'... Even when capacity for, say 7nm product is far from optimal. I fail to see how more 7nm-capable foundries are bad for anyone...
Posted on Reply
#16
Tomorrow
TheLostSwede
Nothing under the radar, they've hired people from Taiwan that has previously worked for UMC, TSMC etc. and learnt from them. Taiwan isn't thrilled about this, but I guess you knew that, right?

And in all fairness, we are talking about bread baking (not cooking, you don't cook bread) recipes here, as so much of this is standardised when it comes to manufacturing ICs. This is assuming the IC designer knew what he/she was doing, which isn't always the case. Sure, cutting edge isn't that simple, but when you make commodity parts, it's a lot easier today than what I was some years ago.

Yeah, I'm racist, I only live and work in Taiwan and have done so for over 13 years...
I have issues with dictatorships that bully their neighbours though...
Well then you have a different perspective on China than i do. I guess living that close to a big country may do that. I feel largely the same about Russia. Living in a small country near the Russian border. Granted Russia is not a dictatorship but it's also far from democratic. Not to mention that unlike China Russia has actually invaded smaller countries in the past 12 years with war against Georgia in 2008 and annexing Crimea in 2014 from Ukraine.
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#17
TheLostSwede
Mouth of Sauron
I mainly feel a vibe that suddenly 'not all competition is good'... Even when capacity for, say 7nm product is far from optimal. I fail to see how more 7nm-capable foundries are bad for anyone...
They're not 7nm capable though, read the article again.
The issue here is that they make a claim that hasn't been substantiated about their 10-14nm N+1 node, which is supposed to be as good as others 7nm nodes. I highly doubt that, but let's wait and see. And in this case, it's not likely to be competition, as they focus on the Chinese market. However, it might free up some capacity at Samsung and TSMC.
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#18
Mouth of Sauron
TheLostSwede
...They're not 7nm capable though, read the article again.
What EXACTLY made you think I haven't read whole article? I always do. I read many, many more articles than I comment.

Having focus on a Chinese market is globally beneficial even now, because Chinese tech companies will have alternative foundry for their products, either strictly domestic or export ones.

Beside, if SMIC or any other company (Chinese or not) reaches reliable and efficient production on any node in use, and ramps the volume, it is likely they will supply foreign customers, too.

It's what foundries do, see...
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#19
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
Mouth of Sauron
What EXACTLY made you think I haven't read whole article?
Mouth of Sauron
I fail to see how more 7nm-capable foundries are bad for anyone...
This part, because it's not a 7nm fab.

Also @TheLostSwede said "read the article again" which implies that he thought you already read it.
Posted on Reply
#20
Mouth of Sauron
Aquinus
This part, because it's not a 7nm fab.

Also @TheLostSwede said "read the article again" which implies that he thought you already read it.
Perhaps you and your buddy should read my initial comment again... And avoid putting the words into my mouth, article is clear, my comment is clear and doesn't claim anything you think it does...

[CLOSED]
Posted on Reply
#21
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
Mouth of Sauron
Perhaps you and your buddy should read my initial comment again... And avoid putting the words into my mouth, article is clear, my comment is clear and doesn't claim anything you think it does...

[CLOSED]
He's not mischaracterizing anything. It's literally a direct quote, by you.
Mouth of Sauron
I fail to see how more 7nm-capable foundries are bad for anyone...
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#22
Patriot
Since you claim to have done research and everything is above water with no complaints...
www.eetimes.com/tsmc-sues-smic-alleges-industrial-espionage/
www.reuters.com/article/us-smic-lawsuit/california-jury-finds-smic-stole-trade-secrets-idUSTRE5A26CA20091103

www.cio.com/article/2444847/tsmc--smic-violated-terms-of--05-settlement.html

www.eetasia.com/Leaker_of_TSMC_Secrets_Joins_SMIC/

I for one based on their history of proven industrial espionage will never celebrate their "advances"
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