IBM announced today that its latest Power processors will be manufactured on Samsung’s 7nm fabs. The two companies have been collaborating on developing the 7nm EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography process for the past several years.
IBM Power Chips Go 7nm
According to IBM, Samsung will manufacture 7nm Power processors for IBM Power Systems, IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE high-performance computing (HPC) systems and cloud offerings. The company also noted that these systems will be specifically designed for AI but didn’t reveal more information beyond that.
As Power10 is still likely to stick to the 10nm process, we may not see IBM move to this 7nm process until at least Power10+, or even Power11, as per the company’s older roadmap.
IBM Power roadmap. Credit: IBM
IBM, Samsung Alliance
IBM's announcement noted that it has had a strong alliance in developing new process technologies with Samsung for the past 15 years. Back in 2015, IBM announced that its IBM Research Alliance, which includes Samsung, was able to produce the first 7nm EUV test chip. IBM will soon be able to take advantage of this node, too, although it doesn’t look like it will be among the first to use it.
"This collaboration is an important milestone for Samsung's foundry business as it signifies confidence in Samsung's cutting-edge high performance EUV process technology," Ryan Lee, Vice President of Foundry Marketing at Samsung Electronics, said in a statement.
Samsung is also a member of the OpenPower Foundation, a vendor ecosystem that facilitates the development of customized OpenPower-based servers, networking and storage for data centers. Plus, Samsung's part of IBM’s Q Network, which aims to advance the understanding and development of software for quantum computers.