Samsung expands production of smartphone chip with ‘extreme UV’ tech

31 Aug 2020

Image: © Alexey Novikov/

Samsung has started mass-producing a 16GB DRAM chip for smartphones, using extreme UV technology to boost AI and 5G performance.

Samsung said that its latest mass-produced chip will give a boost to next-generation smartphones and “elevate the industry to a new threshold”. It announced that its second production line in the South Korean city of Pyeongtaek has started producing the 16GB dynamic RAM (DRAM) chip made using extreme UV (EUV) technology.

Samsung claimed this is the first memory chip to be mass-produced using EUV technology, giving it the highest speed and largest capacity available in mobile DRAM. At 6,400Mbps, the new LPDDR5 chip is about 16pc faster than the 12GB LPDDR5 found in a many flagship mobile devices today.

Its added capacity enables enhanced 5G and AI features including graphic-rich gaming and smart photography.

When made into a 16GB package, Samsung said the LPDDR5 can transfer about 10 5GB-sized full-HD movies, or 51.2GB of data, in one second. The chip – built on the company’s third-generation 10-nanometre class (1z) – is also 30pc thinner than its predecessor, allowing for more phone real estate within foldable or slimmer devices.

The front and back of the new Samsung DRAM chip against a white background.

The new LPDDR5 mobile DRAM. Image: Samsung Electronics

‘Overcoming major developmental hurdle’

“The 1z-based 16GB LPDDR5 elevates the industry to a new threshold, overcoming a major developmental hurdle in DRAM scaling at advanced nodes,” said Jung-Bae Lee, executive vice-president of DRAM product and technology at Samsung Electronics.

“We will continue to expand our premium DRAM line-up and exceed customer demands, as we lead in growing the overall memory market.”

Samsung was recently confirmed as the manufacturer for IBM’s new Power10 processor chip for data centres, which will be the first commercialised chip from the US company to be built using the South Korean firm’s seven-nanometre manufacturing process. IBM claimed that it will be three times more powerful than its predecessor in the areas of energy efficiency, workload capacity and container density.

Samsung said in April that it was looking to focus on chip manufacturing as it expected a significant decline in TV and phone sales due to Covid-19.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic