Samsung Tech Day: Today’s Electronic Devices Seem Magical, But the Real Super-Power is in Silicon

Samsung’s Tech Day event showcases processor and memory advances for 5G, AI, Cloud and Edge Computing, Automotive, IoT, and more.

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Samsung Tech Day

Arthur C. Clarke’s famous comment, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” seems especially apt today, with cars driving themselves and phones starting to do real-time language translation.

But the real super-power behind our smartphones, apps, servers, automated homes and autonomous vehicles isn’t magic – it’s silicon, in the form of advanced processor and memory chips.

A vivid reminder of this was provided by Samsung Semiconductor, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, at its Samsung Tech Day on Oct. 23 in San Jose. The annual event is part of Samsung’s ongoing effort to foster innovation across the technology ecosystem, with hundreds of attendees learning about and discussing the future of consumer and business technology sectors.

The agenda focused on emerging applications like 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), Cloud and Edge computing, autonomous vehicles, and the Internet of Things (IoT), and included a number of semiconductor-related announcements that will have across-the-board impact in key market areas:

  • Advanced chip-stacking technology for new generations of smartphone flash storage and HBM (High Bandwidth Memory) used in advanced computing systems
  • Third-generation 10nm-class (1z-nm) DRAMs are entering mass production,a step that opens the door to new cutting-edge memory solutions like 512GB DDR5, LPDDR5, HBM2E and GDDR6
  • a pair of 5G devices made using Samsung’s 7-nanometer production process -- the Exynos 990 premium application processor and ultra-fast next-generation 5G Exynos Modem 5123 were released, which enable unprecedented mobile video and on-device AI capabilities
  • Developmental silicon technologies, including Samsung’s 100-plus (1yy)-layer 7th-generation V-NAND for premium memory solutions and next-generation PCIe Gen5 SSDs for future server applications.

Chip-stacking is a perfect example of how behind-the-scenes innovation creates new possibilities, like the 12GB LPDDR4X uMCP (UFS-based multichip package). This new universal flash storage (UFS) product for the smartphone sector stacks four 24Gb LPDDR4X chips and an ultra-fast eUFS 3.0 NAND storage in a single package, breaking the current 8GB package limit and bringing 10+ GB memory to the broader smartphone market.

Meanwhile, a newly announced 12-layer stacking process allows a dozen 16GB memory chips to be interconnected with over 60,000 vertical “vias.” This enables a line of forthcoming 24-Gigabit HBMs that run at unprecedented speed while keeping the same form factor as earlier-generation devices – a boon for developers of advanced graphics systems, servers, and AI.

JS Choi, President of Samsung Semiconductor, Inc., captured the tone of Tech Day when he commented,

“Samsung is focused on harnessing the most semiconductor capabilities to power innovation across key markets. From System LSI devices that are perfectly adapted for real-world 5G and AI to advanced solid-state drives (SSDs) that handle mission-critical tasks and offload CPU workload, we are determined to deliver infrastructure capabilities that are built to enable every wave of innovation.”

That type of hard work is, in some sense, the opposite of magic – but Samsung’s efforts are bringing us ever closer to the state envisioned by Clarke.