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Chinese SMIC Ships 7 nm Chips, Reportedly Copied TSMC's Design

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So where did they get the Lithography tools? As far as I understood, those still cannot be produced in China due to their complexity.
They buy them from ASML, the same as everyone else.

The US is pushing ASML to sanction China, but that hasn't happened yet.
 
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chinese are commis right
not really, the government is a one party dictatorship and uses "communism" to control the population. The people themselves are far more capitalistic in the caveat emptor and caveat venditor sense.
fear word "communism" which China largely has abandoned in everything but show.
pretty much but when people get all their "news" from conservative editorials, facts don't matter much

Just because you have it made in another country, does not mean that country then owns the patent.

You need a global patent otherwise the patent is good for just that country. Enforcing patents in China is a complicated matter compared to the USA.

We work with several chinese factories. Reminds me of the time we asked one factory for a quote on a product we just patented. Then we asked another factory a few days later and said we would send over the schematics. They told our people, don't bother we already have the schematics.
 
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Shows not to under estimate China


Well sure,, but they will never catch-up with this half-assed methodology.
The leadership is pouring tons of money and just pushing their intelligence division to snoop, and taking way too long to reverse-engineer things

TSMC n7 launched in 2016, and now 8 years later, there is nothing remotely in interesting about it. AMD learned the hard way to stop replicating Intel cores ( takes way to long once you hit 486), so they decided to build-their-own more efficiently.

With current leadership, China will never catch-up. let-alone surpass! If they throw enough money at it they might slowly make progress on TSMC, but is going to take decades.
 
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Probably because they couldn't also steal the EUV machines required to utilize the other designs that they stole. ;)
There were a few second hand(?) EUV machines up for sale IIRC, probably intended for GF initially or maybe Intel a few years back, that the Chinese were definitely eyeing!

Chinese are known to lie about their technological prowess. I would not surprised if this "7nm" is actually more like "17nm" or "27nm".
It wouldn't be that bad surely but what this shows is how serious CCP is wrt semiconductors & of course the extent they're willing to go to sidestep major WTO rules for this o_O
 
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I wanna say the reason the trade wars and tariffs started was because of Chinese companies (China owned) blackmailing US companies to hand over IP for various reasons, including bail-outs, there was a bunch of news about all this at the time, I think 2016-ish.
I agree. I refuse to do business in China for IP stealing.
 
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I agree. I refuse to do business in China for IP stealing

ok, what business are you withholding from them? Obviously not tech unless you are sending smoke signals to someone to make posts for you?
 
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They aren't trying to match or surpass. They aren't stupid. That's a fools errand ( look at Intel). They are trying to create their own nationally funded production facility. So they only need to catch up with something that is a bit closer. Once they can bypass needing anything high power cpu from the west, Taiwanese manufacturing etc... then things will change fast for them. They will have their own private technological ecosystem. No more need to poach, beg borrow or steal.
That's just my creepy theory. Muhahahaha
 
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ok, what business are you withholding from them? Obviously not tech unless you are sending smoke signals to someone to make posts for you?
His business is wanna be tik tok living streaming which ironically is chinese own lol....
 
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Geopolitcal matters aside, it makes me SAD that their first sample is a mining ASIC.
If they want 100% made in China CPUs, GPUs, RAM or FlashNAND, I understand it, be it stolen designs or not.
But why the hell tape out electricity burner ASICs that produce nothing and only serve ponzi schemes and money laundering?
 
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Hopefully SMIC's 7nm is atleast better than the Intel's hot and power hungry and way less dense 7nm.
 
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Even though I haven't been keeping up with news lately, I remember this "7nm" thing has been creeping into tech news since last year, with few details here and there making it a bit clearer.
So, to cool off "sensationalist" titles here's few things that has been known so far:
1) It's definitely not 7nm. Someone somewhere referred to it as "7nm equivalent", which stuck, but SMIC calls it N+1 and N+2. Overall it's the same story as Intel 7(formerly Intel's 10nm)
2) I think the only source that calls it 7nm specifically, is MinerVa themselves. Everyone else is kinda on board that N+1 and N+2 are somewhere below 14nm, but not quite 7nm
Geopolitcal matters aside, it makes me SAD that their first sample is a mining ASIC.
It's a matter of business. Early production means high chance of manufacturing defects. ASICs are essentially a bunch of identical compute blocks with an integrated PMIC, which makes them a little easier to manufacture, a little easier to diagnose and mitigate defects(fusing off non-working blocks, discarding etc), and have higher margins (which is super-important for limited-scale production). If they went straight to making, let's say, a new Kirin SoC, or bigger Zhaoxin CPU, or something more complex like a Threadripper clone of yester-year - that's a recipe for disaster. We all remeber how long it took Intel to do anything relevant with 10nm, and even then they've started with ULP laptop/tablet chips and slo-o-o-o-o-owly moved towards bigger stuff.
Those Minerva 7 chips are tiny, about the same size or even smaller than BM1485 judging by pics (there are photos of it on the PCB next to other components, and it looks absolutely tiny, around 10x10mm package with even smaller exposed die).
 
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I read this on another site as well. It looks like SMIC is attempting to clone the TSMC 7nm process using DUV equipment instead of EUV. The difference is that they "likely" do not have the bitcell memory scaled down to 7nm typical sizes, just the logic.
absolutely tiny, around 10x10mm package with even smaller exposed die).
4.6x4.2 mm chips. Good for yields, especially with equipment that isn't well suited for the job.
 
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"Copied" seems to be a very kind word for what they are doing..
 
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Well sure,, but they will never catch-up with this half-assed methodology.
The leadership is pouring tons of money and just pushing their intelligence division to snoop, and taking way too long to reverse-engineer things

TSMC n7 launched in 2016, and now 8 years later, there is nothing remotely in interesting about it. AMD learned the hard way to stop replicating Intel cores ( takes way to long once you hit 486), so they decided to build-their-own more efficiently.

With current leadership, China will never catch-up. let-alone surpass! If they throw enough money at it they might slowly make progress on TSMC, but is going to take decades.

China are quite effective with their progress, few can mine, forge, or build cheaper than them , hence why they're building in a lot of countries(and few countries mine or forge), and that's not mentioning consumer product manufacturers.
 
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I read this on another site as well. It looks like SMIC is attempting to clone the TSMC 7nm process using DUV equipment instead of EUV.

You can do 7nm without EUV, but you really wouldn’t want to.

Chips since the 28nm-ish generation have been built on multi patterning, you’re at a physical limit with 193nm ArFi immersion lithography with how fine you can etch so to get accuracy you need to form transistors that work you have to break the design into multiple patterns to expose in multiple steps.

Double patterning worked fine for a few generations, but by the time you’re triple patterning/quadruple patterning for n14/n10 costs and complexity are skyrocketing as you need more masks, more time for software tools to split your design into those mask, and more steps in the fab as every mask requires it’s own litho-etch step. And at n10 Intel also had to do hexa-patterning for some features.

What EUV gets you is the ability to skip that insanity and do a single pattern n7 design.

If anyone is achieving the level of density of TSMC n7 without EUV, they are simply not getting the yields, the performance, or the turnaround/cost savings of someone who is. EUV wasn’t just the next shiny thing, it was a saving grace to an industry getting bogged down.
 
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I think a lot of people in this thread are confusing chip design with chip fabrication. Having people in factories look at a chip it after its been manufactured won't tell you how to fabricate the chip. It doesn't matter if there are "soldiers" in the assembly plants where the cards get put together. The only way you can reverse engineer this is to have access to the fabrication machines, or people that have access to those machines in other countries, and this is likely what's happened. Trade secrets are being leaked by dishonest employees.

Imagine taking apart a house and trying to figure out what tools were used (with no prior knowledge of tools). I doubt you'd get far.
 
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You really have no idea how China works if you think it's blanket communism like that. They have a patent office ffs.

Yes they have a history of accessing that patent office at the government level much like a personal library, but none of that has anything to do with the fear word "communism" which China largely has abandoned in everything but show.


It also says the process is 2 gens behind, so we are misunderstanding something here.
The Chinese Communist Party morphed into the The Chinese Authoritarian Mercantilist Party sometime after they entered the WTO back in the 1990s and that entry was thanks to the Clinton administration.
 
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The patent owner can get their products produced where ever they like. Just because you have it made in another country, does not mean that country then owns the patent.

then you obviously have no idea how joint venture works in china.

no company can go on its own in china, they HAVE to partner with a Chinese company, and when production is involved (especially of tech china does not have or own) then a certain amount of tech sharing IS REQUIRED.

so, they dont own the patent, but then, the basis for how that patent works is pretty much given for free to china.

AMD gave them Ryzen tech for instance. china is abusing the fact that they have a 1.4B market, that makes all managers in big companies have a hard on just imagining how much money they will make in china. so, they accept abusive clauses china provide them with.

Do you know what happens next in most cases? the Chinese "partner" that got all techs from the foreigner, start to ramp up their own Chinese products (or sell the tech to other Chinese companies) with acquired techs, sometimes improve upon, make the same or copied product as the foreigner, but for a fraction of the cost because they lower quality where possible and they obviously did not pay shit for R&D.

then they basically steal the market share from under the foreigners, and foreigner having nothing left can only leave Chinese market.

Doing business with china was in most cases was and is a bad idea, most of what china has to this day is "stolen" tech. They did improve upon them sometimes, but they did not pay or invent the tech in the first place, and the way their patent work means whatever was patented in another country but is not in china is basically not patented, so a chinese company steal the tech, apply for patent in china and bam done.

there is a huge list of countries having issues with the WTO filing claims against china, because in many cases china just uses techs without ever paying royalties to the inventing country, but WTO are rarely fairly enforced by china. they just get away with pretty much anything.

from WTO website :

In August 2020, China's Supreme People's Court decided that Chinese courts can prohibit patent holders from going to a non-Chinese court to enforce their patents by putting in place an “anti-suit injunction”

so basically, that means china SHITS all over patent holders worldwide, Chinese company can use whatever patent they want, not pay shit, and have the international company unable to sue anywhere BUT china, and guess who Chinese courts side with in 90%+ of cases... yeah you guessed it, Chinese companies.

so take the 2 things together... china gets patents for free, and use the ones it doesn't own for free. and no one can do anything about it.
 
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I don't. thx for so eloquently not educating me.

well just learn that china just does not abide by the same rules as everyone else that's all. should be on paper, but vastly different in reality.

i think there is almost 2-3 times more active trade disputes at the WTO against china, than china has against the rest of the world combined, as it stands. lot of countries arent happy with how china does business.


and to give you an idea how Chinese courts operate here is an extract from OPPO v Sharp - Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court (one of MAAAAAANY cases)

"In or around October 2020, OPPO applied for act preservation requesting the Court, first, to prohibit Sharp and its affiliates from applying for judicial injunctions (including permanent injunction and temporary injunction) or other similar relief measures in other countries or regions. Secondly, OPPO sought to prohibit Sharp and its affiliates from initiating patent infringement lawsuits or applying for judicial injunctions (including permanent injunction and temporary injunction) or other similar relief measures against OPPO in other countries or regions."

China is in short Ruling almost every time in favor of Chinese companies, preventing said Chinese company to pay any sort of fee or royalties when using certain international patents, then tries COCKBLOCK the foreign company internationally to apply the ruling, despite the original company having patents. (Sanctions involved in china if you do) then the foreign company only can go cry to their government, and ask their government to take action at the WTO.

now you can wonder how china pumps such cheap products, they are simply not respecting international laws like other countries do. obviously easier to make cheap stuff when you can effectively steal in all legality (in your country) any tech you want/need, when other countries have to pay for it.

if china keeps going like that thinking they are untouchable, they will end up slowly losing business with everyone, as everyone is slowly but surely getting fed up with them.
Especially that when other countries do to china what china itself does to everyone else, they directly go cry at the WTO for unfair trade practice... the irony.
 

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Typical Chinese "Innovation" (Copying/intellectual property theft) reportedly in play here.
Its is possible to make 7 "nm" without EUV unfortunately there is no standard for what constitutes these measured dimensions. TSMC and Intel both measuring their transistors differently with intel recently changing their naming conventions. There are techniques such as triple patterning or even self aligned quadruple patterning. The results are inferior to E.U.V. usage and more expensive with inferior yields , but it can be done. China has the resources to overcome the expenses side.
 
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China are quite effective with their progress, few can mine, forge, or build cheaper than them , hence why they're building in a lot of countries(and few countries mine or forge), and that's not mentioning consumer product manufacturers.

When it comes to "cheap production" just refer to my previous post. they only can afford to produce cheap because when it comes to anything involving patents, they just almost never pay any royalties or licensing fees like any other country would.

Their work force isn't cheap anymore like it used to a few decades ago, the level of life has considerably gotten better, so have minimum wages.

it's to a point that for non tech related products, even Chinese companies are opening their factories in other cheaper south/south east Asian countries to save money.

but anything tech related is still fine to produce in china just because china protects their company against international patent infringement, which alone is their saving grace when it comes to being able to shit cheap production on the world.

If china respected international patents, trust me, you wouldn't see that many "made in china" gadgets. they would be made in Vietnam most likely, and for less technical stuff in Bangladesh or countries like that.
 
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Hopefully SMIC's 7nm is atleast better than the Intel's hot and power hungry and way less dense 7nm.
Intel's "7" is still 10, however they rename it.
Intel claiming their 10nm process is equivalent to TSMC 7 is a joke that only the stupidest and most clueless of investors will swallow.
Intel's 7 10 is barely a match for TSMC 12, and that's being kind to Intel.
 
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