Samsung's upcoming 3 nm gate-all-around chips discovered inside cryptomining rigs
Samsung was the first company to introduce the gate-all-around transistor design in its mass-production SF3E nodes last summer, but initial yields appeared to be very low. Samsung promised improvements over the next couple of years, with 3 nm yields now sitting at 60%, while second gen SF3 nodes are also scheduled to go online by 2024. Despite the low initial yields, Samsung managed to secure orders from big customers such as Nvidia, Qualcomm and IBM. None of these announced any products manufactured on the SF3E nodes as of yet, but it looks like some obscure companies are already selling systems employing Samsung’s 3 nm process. According to TechInsights, among the first companies to use the most advanced node from Samsung is MicroBT, which mainly focuses on cryptomining rigs.
TechInsights discovered that a specific model in the MicroBT portfolio is powered by 3 nm ASICs. The model is called Whatsminer M56S++ currently selling for US$6,350 and it is used to mine Bitcoin with a hashrate of up to 254 Th/s as well as 22 J/Th energy efficiency. This system is as big as a mid-tower PC, except it has a horizontal orientation, and weighs 16 kg. At peak hashrate, it draws 5,588 W from the wall.
The Whatsminer M56S++ model is clearly more energy efficient than the the best selling M30S that is almost three times slower at 92 Th/s speeds but has a power draw of 3,600 W. Granted, the M30S is smaller and has fewer ASICs, plus it costs five times less, but the specs seem to be in line with the estimated 3 nm improvements over 5 nm that include 45% decreased power consumption and 23% increased performance for similar transistor count and frequencies.