DDR5 RAM: Samsung produces 1a chips with EUV in large series

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DDR5 RAM: Samsung produces 1a chips with EUV in large series

Image: Samsung

Samsung’s EUV production has matured to the point that five layers are exposed with this technology for the new DDR5 RAM. The chips are based on 14 nm production, or as it is called in the DRAM industry on the roadmaps: 1a.

1a is the current logical step in the sequence of DRAM manufacturing stages. The last few years were characterized by DRAM chips in 1x, 1y and 1z, now comes 1a, which is also called 1α (1-alpha) here and there. 1a is followed by 1b and 1c, before the first efforts for the next levels 0a, 0b and 0c are made from the middle of this decade. ASML recently presented a suitable roadmap for this, which will extend into the year 2030.

ASML supplies devices for all stages of production ASML supplies devices for all stages of production (Image: ASML)

Direct comparisons with the Logic Nanometer Roadmap have always been difficult, since, like CPUs, there are no real nanometer data in it either, but marketing terms are used: the smaller the better. For the first time, Samsung dares to switch to a specification in nanometers in its press release: 1a now corresponds to 14 nm in the DRAM language, largely manufactured with EUV exposure.

EUV brings Samsung up again in a big way. In the logic area behind TSMC quite a bit, the manufacturer scores in the DRAM business with the experience from other areas and is quite far ahead here, if not even in the lead. Only SK Hynix mixes in a little, but without a lot of experience. Micron will not fully switch to EUV for two years. It is undisputed that there will also be bonuses with DRAM at the end of the day. Samsung mentions an advantage of 20 percent in the energy consumption of the chips alone, and a further 20 percent thanks to the increased packing density for overall productivity.

  • Benefits of high NA

    Advantages of high NA (Image: ASML)

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    Samsung’s chips in this level are initially 16 gigabits, as usual, which corresponds to 2 GB, and designed for speeds of up to 7.2 Gbps, which in the end can achieve DDR5-7200. The start of series production, however, took a comparatively long time: Samsung opened the pilot line 1.5 years ago and sent samples. For the near future, the manufacturer is still planning to use 24 gigabit chips in the same manufacturing process in order to be able to meet the requests in the server segment for more memory.

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