Weekly news roundup: Samsung reportedly to produce 4nm chips for AMD and other top stories

Judy Lin, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

These are the most-read stories during the week of November 13-17:

Samsung reportedly has obtained 4nm server chip orders from AMD

Korean media Chosun Biz quoted sources saying that AMD will produce a new Zen 5c chip code-named "Prometheus," in which Samsung will produce the base model with its 4nm processing technology, and TSMC will produce the advanced model with its 3 nm technologies. AMD used to only cooperate with TSMC but is now trying to diversify the supply chain risks.

Chinese CPU developer planning shift to 7nm process manufacturing

China government-supported chipmaker Loongson has begun research on its CPU product line entering the next-generation 7nm technology, with development to commence in 2024, according to company chairman Hu Weiwu. At a recent company event, Hu said that the 7nm advanced process is anticipated to increase the performance of Loongson's 3A7000 CPU by 20-30%. Relevant IP and test chips will be developed next year (2024), according to Hu.

US chip giants reduce chip specs for China to circumvent ban, TSMC to benefit

Server supply chain insiders reveal that Intel, driven by substantial orders from Chinese clients for its Gaudi 2, is gearing up to meet stringent US specifications while Nvidia, adapting to the restrictive environment, is set to launch a second reduced-specification AI GPU for the Chinese market. Rumors are circulating that AMD's MI300 series might also see a version with reduced specifications. Should these strategic moves by the major players prove successful, it could alleviate concerns for industries affected by the ban. Key players like TSMC, securing major contracts for AI GPU/CPU manufacturing, along with the AI server supply chain stand to benefit from these moves.

China achieves RISC-V server milestone amidst potential US sanctions

Sophgo and T-head, in collaboration with Shandong University (SDU), have achieved a significant feat by deploying a RISC-V CPU server cluster in the cloud. David Chen, Alibaba's Ecosystem Director heralded this accomplishment as China's first successful deployment during the RISC-V Summit held in California. This milestone comes at a crucial juncture, with US lawmakers urging the Biden Administration to impose restrictions on China's advancements in RISC-V technology through ongoing semiconductor export limitations. Meanwhile, China is actively aiming to reduce reliance on Western chip technology through subsidizing domestic IC manufacturers.

Supply Chain Summit: It takes Taiwan and India together to make semiconductors a trillion-dollar industry by 2030

At the opening ceremony of the Supply Chain Summit co-organized by DIGITIMES and the India-Taipei Association (ITA) on November 14 in Taipei, DIGITIMES chairman and president Colley Hwang and India's IT hardware guru, HCL Group co-founder Ajay Chowdhry, emphasized how essential the collaboration of Taiwan and India is in the global semiconductor supply chain for the years to come.

"If we believe the year 2030 the total revenue of the semiconductor industry can reach US$1 trillion, then we need a compound annual growth rate as high as 10% for the coming years," explained Hwang. "How is it possible? It's only possible that India and Taiwan work together. Only the Indian market is big enough. And the Southeast Asian countries as well.

Are German state aids for Intel and TSMC in jeopardy?

The latest ruling from Germany's constitutional court might have jeopardized the country's semiconductor subsidies policy, with the aids planned for Intel and TSMC hanging by a thread. The Karlsruhe-based court decided on November 15 to strike down off-budget funding for climate action, calling into question the future of up to EUR770 billion worth of special funding available for the German government, as reported by Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter. According to the court, repurposing EUR60 billion of pandemic aid from 2021 to finance the government's Climate and Transformation Fund (KTF) contravened Germany's constitution, known as the Basic Law. The decision has raised the fear in Berlin that similar funding vehicles may have to be dissolved by the end of the year.

TSMC secures 5nm AI chip orders from Microsoft

TSMC has received AI chip orders from major cloud service providers (CSP), including Microsoft's 5nm chip orders, according to industry sources. AI-related chips are thriving, thanks to CSPs like Google, AWS, and Microsoft's technical prowess, as well as their rivalry and collaborative connections with chipmakers like Nvidia, AMD, and Intel, which are also garnering market interest. TSMC has benefited the most from the relevant supply chain, whether it is the previous wave of self-developed chips for smartphones led by Apple and Huawei or the next generation of self-developed chips for AI, the sources said.