“2021 Review and Outlook special Topic” rewrite advanced technology pattern X factor

2022-05-26 0 By

The competition of advanced technology is not only the competition of strength and strategy, but also the long-distance running of race point relay one after another.Now that TSMC is in the dust, Samsung and Intel are racing to catch up, hoping to regain the lost ground in the battle ahead.During this period, many X factors affecting the pattern of advanced technology also took the opportunity to ferment, geography, capital, technology, vertical and other staged in turn, subtly manipulating the future trend.Looking back at the competition for advanced technology in 2021, IT has to be said that Intel CEO Pat Kisinger’s IDM2.0 strategy has become the biggest X factor stirring up the market pattern.The core of Intel’s IDM 2.0 strategy is to expand its own production capacity and expand outsourcing.In September 2021, Intel broke ground on two $20 billion fabs (Fab 52 and 62) in Arizona.In January 2022, another $20 billion investment was decided to build two advanced process fabs in Ohio, for a total of eight fabs that could eventually grow to $100 billion.In addition, Intel may soon announce plans for another manufacturing site in Europe.Intel’s capital spending could reach $28 billion in 2022 as a result of the expansion.In the outsourcing part, Intel firmly seize the “frenemy” TSMC, plans to commission the 3nm chip by TSMC, and hopes to create a special production line for it like Apple.In contrast to Intel’s high profile, high investment to fight again, TSMC and Samsung are also real money, large investment.TSMC raised its capital expenditure forecast for 2021 to $30 billion from $25 billion to $28 billion, with more than 80 percent of that going into advanced processes.At a recent legal conference, TSMC projected capex of $40 billion to $44 billion in 2022, with 70-80% of capex going to advanced process (7nm and below), 10-20% to specialized technology, and 10% to advanced packaging.Samsung’s involvement is also strong.According to Samsung’s recent earnings report, its chip business generated more than 94 trillion won in revenue in 2021, surpassing Intel.The company plans to spend more than $36 billion in capital expenditure on semiconductors in 2022, and will focus on improving the yield of advanced processes in its contract manufacturing business. It will regain its leading position in technology through the mass production of first-generation GAA processes in the first half of 2022.There is no doubt that the chips put out by the three big players are getting higher and higher, and the EUV lithography machine behind the tens of billions of dollars has become the pioneer.As previously reported by Jimicronet, to progress to 3nm process, or choose EUV dual exposure, or not high numerical aperture (NA) EUV.The latter is still under development and is expected to be available in scale between 2025 and 2026, with an estimated price of more than $300 million per unit.With the continuous improvement of the manufacturing process, TSMC, Samsung and other companies are purchasing EUV lithography machines in large quantities. Intel and ASML, the only supplier of EUV, recently announced that they would take the lead in purchasing the next generation of high NA EUV for the first time, and plan to introduce mass production in 2025, which is a key step.TSMC is expected to have 133 EUV lithography machines by 2023.The 2022 “first battle” of the 2nm/3nm “decisive Battle” advanced technology campaign will undoubtedly be the upcoming 3nm duel between TSMC and Samsung, as well as the new heights of 2nm targeted by the three parties in the future.TSMC and Samsung, in a similar move, have postponed the planned mass production of 3nm in 2021.In September last year, the two sides fought for the development of 3nm process, have been blocked by the development of the news, and the time point of the decisive battle is locked to 2022.Samsung Electronics is scheduled to start production of 3nm GAA process in the first half of 2022, while TSMC is scheduled to mass produce finFEt-based 3nm process in the second half of 2022.The “time difference” between the two sides may allow Samsung to temporarily gain the upper hand, but won the time for mass production, whether it can win more customers with limited capacity, still need to play a question mark.What is particularly noteworthy is that TSMC may open up a 3nm production line exclusively for Intel, which is a “poison” or “delicacy”, the industry is also different opinions.When it is good for Intel, can effort to develop advanced process on one hand, on the other hand can effectively fight back AMD and nvidia and other old rivals, because these companies have long relied on TSMC’s advanced support to compete with Intel, the Intel USES the same strategy, old rival competitive advantage or difficult to highlight again.But for TSMC, if this helps Intel foundry gain market share, will AMD and Nvidia lose market share and turn to the second supplier?Further, is it a good idea to “prop up” a potential rival, Intel?Maokang, a well-known semiconductor expert, believes that 3nm foundry for Intel can maintain sales and profit growth, after all, TSMC must increase the proportion of advanced process in 2022 to invest $44 billion in real money.Some industry experts said that TSMC’s high yield and low cost is the biggest competitive advantage, and Intel is still struggling to compete in this area, and will find it more cost-effective to manufacture its own products than to entrust them to TSMC.By helping Intel OEM, TSMC can not only improve its manufacturing capacity in CPUS, Gpus and other chips, expand its market share again, but also greatly improve its gross margin, which is still positive in the long run.If the 3nm process is a duel between Samsung and TSMC, the battle for 2nm is a three-way battle.In particular, 2025 will be the “time” for the war.Samsung plans to mass-produce 2nm chips by 2025, while TSMC is also targeting 2025.Although Intel is facing the “lost years” in advanced technology, Intel is still strong. In July 2021, it announced a detailed process and packaging technology roadmap, starting from Intel 4 to fully embrace EUV process, and 20A (2nm) to abandon FinFET and embrace two revolutionary technologies:RibbonFET and PowerVia, and vowed to surpass TSMC by the time 2nm is mass-produced.If it can be delivered on time without any mistake, then it can be predicted that the three giants will launch a peak battle around 2nm, especially when GAA will become the mainstream 2nm technology, which may rewrite the future pattern of the decisive battle.There is no doubt that this is the pinnacle of competition.And competition is not only on the surface, in the technology to solve numerous “Bug”, in yield and cost of a relatively short, and the dark side of competition including geographical, commercial subsidies and customer choice, and so on, multiple factors make the competition situation more complicated.Obviously, each technology has its own “difficulties” : As previously reported by Jiwe.com, TSMC 3NM still uses FinFET process, which challenges the limits of FinFET process.Samsung also faces many difficulties. GAA is a brand new architecture, and the device parameters will be more uncertain, so many impacts may be difficult to predict.Around capacity, TSMC has a significant advantage.It was previously planned to have an initial production capacity of 55,000 tablets per month at the time of formal 3nm mass production, and up to 105,000 tablets per month in 2023.While Samsung and Intel are IDM, before the total production capacity for most of their own digestion, but Samsung has substantially tilted to the customer capacity.In 2020, Samsung is using 60% of its fab capacity for its own use, mainly to make Exynos chips for smartphones, with the rest distributed to customers including Qualcomm (20%) and another 20% split among Nvidia, IBM and Intel.As Samsung significantly increases the capacity of 7nm, 5nm and other processes in 2021, its self-use ratio will decrease, possibly to 50%, to meet more customer needs.Advanced process competition is not entirely dependent on nodes, advanced packaging, 2D materials and so on all need to bet.Because advanced processes are expensive, especially at 3nm, some figures suggest that the cost of a single wafer can be as high as $30,000, compared with about $17,800 for 5nm and $9,300 for 7nm.Obviously, there is a certain cost pressure for customers who want to step into advanced manufacturing process, but the relatively high cost performance of advanced packaging can also help customers achieve a certain degree of efficiency improvement, which is obviously what the three giants must do in advanced technology.In the aspect of advanced packaging, it has to be said that Intel and TSMC are on a par, and Samsung also launched the 3D advanced packaging technology X-Cube in a head-to-head confrontation. The competition of advanced packaging has also become an important battlefield in the advanced technology war.It is said that The biggest competitor of TSMC in cost control may be Samsung, but the biggest competitor in technology is Still Intel. TSMC must be conscientious and diligent in the road of advanced manufacturing process, and has no capital to relax. As long as TSMC loosens up a little, it will be caught up by competitors immediately.The only way for TSMC is to lead in advanced manufacturing and packaging as well.If the competition on the illustrative side can be prolonged, then the influence of the competition on the dark side is difficult to weigh.At a time when science and technology are playing a big game and semiconductor powers are reintroducing manufacturing, geopolitical uncertainty could spark new upheavals.In addition, semiconductor manufacturers such as TSMC and Samsung are expected to hand over their commercial data in 2021.A recent interpretation of the semiconductor Supply Chain Information (RFI) requested by the U.S. Department of Commerce, published on its website, is blunt: The United States must fund semiconductor manufacturing to address the long-term supply challenges facing the United States.The CHIPS Act, which provides us $52 billion in subsidies for domestic semiconductor manufacturers, is expected to be passed soon.Want to know, the expansion of production capacity, increase investment in advanced technology research and development needs to be large, the big three’s cash flows are facing a lot of pressure, more than Intel in actively seeking government subsidies, although TSMC and samsung also invest billions dollars in the United States “in”, but how much can benefit from the one act is difficult to clear.As the Financial Times noted this week, the struggle for dominance in the semiconductor industry is rapidly turning into a 19th-century industrial equivalent of the Great Game — a modern Game about boosting intellectual capital, increasing industrial capacity and developing the latest technologies.Undoubtedly, the great Game will also make the Armageddon of the three giants in advanced technology more complicated.(Proofreading/Li Yan)