Samsung Electronics (KS: 005930 ) Co. is gearing up to introduce a new advanced 3D chip packaging technology named SAINT (Samsung Advanced Interconnection Technology) in a bid to rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC) market dominance. The SAINT technology comprises three types—SAINT S, SAINT D, and SAINT L—each designed to enhance the performance and integration of memory and processors for high-performance chips, including those used in AI applications.
The global advanced chip packaging market is on an upward trajectory, expected to grow from $44.3 billion in 2022 to $66 billion by 2027, with 3D packaging technologies contributing significantly to this expansion. This market growth aligns with the rising demand for semiconductors that can rapidly process large datasets, which is critical for generative AI technologies like ChatGPT.
Samsung's SAINT S targets the vertical stacking of SRAM memory chips with CPUs, while SAINT D focuses on packaging core IPs such as CPUs, GPUs, and DRAM. SAINT L is tailored for application processors. These technologies have recently passed validation tests and are slated for commercial release following further evaluations by clients next year.
TSMC, currently leading the industry with its 2.5D packaging technology known as CoWoS, has been investing in its own 3D inter-chip stacking technology called SoIC. TSMC's technology services high-profile clients including Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL ). and Nvidia Corp . (NASDAQ: NVDA )
In contrast, earlier this month, United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) from Taiwan rolled out its wafer-to-wafer (W2W) 3D IC project, offering clients efficient solutions for integrating memory and processors via silicon stacking technology. Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) is also a key player in this space with its next-generation Foveros technology for advanced chip production.
Since introducing its H-Cube 2.5D packaging technology in 2021, Samsung has accelerated its development efforts in chip packaging. In April, the company announced a comprehensive packaging turnkey service that manages the entire process from chip fabrication to packaging and testing.
The introduction of SAINT is part of Samsung's strategy to enhance AI chip performance for use in data centers and mobile application processors with on-device AI capabilities. Additionally, Samsung is vying for a significant order of HBM memory—its Shinebolt "HBM3e"—to power NVIDIA's upcoming Blackwell AI GPUs, potentially impacting SK hynix (KS: 000660 )'s market share. Despite securing orders from AMD (NASDAQ: AMD ) for its next-gen Instinct accelerators, Samsung's deal with NVIDIA could be more consequential due to NVIDIA's commanding presence in the AI market.
The semiconductor industry's shift from monolithic designs to chiplet-based architectures underscores the importance of advanced packaging technologies like SAINT, which could disrupt TSMC's current stronghold provided by its CoWoS services to companies such as NVIDIA and AMD for their AI GPUs.
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