China appears to have figured out how to make 7nm chips despite US sanctions

In its eagerness to circumvent US sanctions, China would be secretly developing 7nm chips from 2021 by the semiconductor giant SMIC. At least this is what the American semiconductor analysis company, TechInsights, claims after buying a cryptocurrency mining ASIC made by SMIC and discovering that it uses these 7-nanometer chips. It should be noted that SMIC has restricted access to ASML’s advanced EUV chip manufacturing tools.

According to the US company, it is a pretty exact copy of those produced by the foundry company TSMC in Taiwan. Company that, on the other hand, has already denounced SMIC twice for copying its technology. And at a time when China – as is also the case in Europe – is focused on increasing the production of its own semiconductors.

The TechInsights report goes further. And he claims that not only TSMC, but also Intel and Samsung have developed a technology that is much more sophisticated than SMIC’s 7nmlocated at least two lithographs ahead.

How is SMIC doing?

Despite the restrictions, the Chinese company can continue to use current tools for the production of 7nm chips. It was in 2020, when SMIC already announced its 7nm node and then, together with its partner Innosilicon, announced that had manufactured a chip in the N+1 version of the 7nm node that same year.

What the report has not been able to specify is whether the MinerVa chip for Bitcoin mining, which Techinsights bought on the open market, has any relationship with the Innosilicon initiative. It is important to note that the Bitcoin MinerVa mining chip is of entry-level quality, which would imply that SMIC is still in the early stages of chip development.

“This low-volume product may be the springboard for a true 7nm process incorporating memory and logic cells at scale. Since bitcoin miners have limited RAM needs, they may not have the typical bit cell memory that the true definition of 7nm technology requires.

Regardless, this is the most advanced technology product that TechInsights has identified at SMIC so far. Which could be leading to a true 7nm process that incorporate scaled logic and memory bit cells.

If this information is fully confirmed, would be bad news for the US government, which has been trying to curb China’s ability to make advanced chips over national security concerns. And it is that, although 7nm crypto mining is intended for commercial use, its use in military applications by China seems inevitable-

While the 7nm crypto mining chip is likely destined for consumer or commercial use, the process node will likely end up in military applications. Regardless, China seems to have managed to create finished products on a 7nm node. The reason for this lies

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