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Samsung develops breakthrough semiconductor chip

By Kim Yoon-kyoung & Kim Tae-gyu, UPI News Korea
DRAM chips produced based on the 12-nanometer-class technology of Samsung Electronics. Photo courtesy of Samsung Electronics
DRAM chips produced based on the 12-nanometer-class technology of Samsung Electronics. Photo courtesy of Samsung Electronics

SEOUL, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- South Korean semiconductor chipmaker Samsung Electronics announced a breakthrough that could improve computing power.

The company has succeeded in developing the world's first 12-nanometer-class DRAM.

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Samsung said Wednesday the new dynamic random access memory for semiconductors signaled a 20% increase in wafer productivity and a 23% reduction in power consumption.

The chip's data-processing speed could reach 7.2 gigabits per second, fast enough to send two ultra-high-definition movies in 1 second.

A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. In comparison, the width of human hair is around 100,000 nanometers.

Other tech giants have also been working to reduce the nanometer specification because it would allow more transistors on a silicon chip for improved computing power.

Until now, Samsung's 14nm technology has been the best in the industry. The company plans to start mass producing the 12nm, 16-gigabit DDR5 DRAM next year.

"Our 12nm-range DRAM will be a key enabler in driving market-wide adoption of DDR5 DRAM," Samsung Electronics Executive Vice President Lee Joo-young said in a statement.

"With exceptional performance and power efficiency, we expect our new DRAM to serve as the foundation for more sustainable operations in areas such as next-generation computing, data centers and AI-driven systems," he said.

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Samsung said that the new chips will be compatible with AMD semiconductor products, being optimized for validation on AMD's Zen platforms.

AMD welcomed the news of the 12nm DRAMs.

"Innovation often requires close collaboration with industry partners to push the bounds of technology," AMD Senior Vice President Joe Macri said in a statement.

Professor Han Tae-hee at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul said Samsung's latest technological breakthrough could give the chipmaker the edge against its global rivals, such as SK hynix and Micron Technology.

"Fierce rivalries exist to sell more memory chips to data center service providers because that business is very lucrative," Han told UPI News Korea.

"And these data centers prefer chips with lower power consumption. Hence, 12nm DRAM could enable Samsung to win more deals with such data centers."

The share price of Samsung Electronics was up 1.9% on the South Korean stock exchange Thursday.

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