China’s 7 Nanometer Chip is a Basic, Simple and Small Chip

China 7 nanometer bitcoin miner chip is low-volume production product that is a chip to learn to make true 7nm process according to TechInsitghts. The MinerVa Bitcoin mining chip is basic, simple and small measures only 4.6 x 4.2 mm, implying that SMIC is still in the early stages of chip development. they also appear to have reverse engineered the 7 nanometer TSMC (Taiwan semiconductor process). SMIC uses scaled logic and memory bitcells. Bbitcoin miners have limited RAM requirements, they likely do not feature the typical bitcell memory that the true 7nm technology definition requires (both scaled logic and bitcell adoption). This chipset likely demonstrates the logic part but not the bitcell aspect.

All the major chip foundries manufactured technology at 7nm without EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet lasers). Variants on the 7nm node saw significant complexity (and likely cost) reductions with the introduction of EUV. SMIC will not be able to access EUV because of import restrictions. China in the near-to medium term and will continue to evolve the 7nm node without EUV capability, at the cost of increasing complexity (and resulting yield issues).

China will not be able to sell the chips outside China without legal challenges from TSMC. However, chinese advanced product companies who have been unable to get advanced technologies available from TSMC, Samsung and other cutting-edge foundry service providers will use SMIC 7nm chips.

TSMC, Samsung are still the chip leaders and two nodes ahead. Intel is catching up and is also working on the same level of technology as TSMC and Samsung but need to deploy commercially at 5nm and 3nm the advanced nodes.

14 thoughts on “China’s 7 Nanometer Chip is a Basic, Simple and Small Chip”

  1. There are two forces at work here. SMIC can survive strictly making ICs and other smaller chips. That’ll keep them in business forever.

    The other force is China. They want high end cpu manufacturing so they have any hope of surviving the sanctions they’d deservedly be under if they attacked Taiwan.

  2. Basic, simple and small chips. Perhaps this should be replaced with Capability. I hope you are not talking about China building 7nm IC making machine is only for producing CPU, right! Frankly speaking there are thousands of ICs with different functionalities on the market, from simply logic, multiplexer, timer, etc. to the complicated one such as chipsets, gpu and cpu.

    BTW for IC design, China has no problem at all, but about availability IC is a big issue for now, due to it’s just started IC manufacturing.

    My point of view is China creating own IC standard, and building IC library for self sufficience, and helping developing countries.

    How about market? Is there a market for it? I don’t think this’s a problem. For developed market – not interested as expected, perhaps 5 or 10 years latter. For developing market – yes but soon. For domestic market – working on it, too much to fill.

    Do you know how many students are there in China? Almost the size of US population. Lets say if Basic Electronic is one the main subject then it’s enough to keep Chinese ICs factories busy.

  3. Wonder if they are using a Risc-V open source design, with a Linux(like) operating system. Taking advantage of the huge free open source software available online.

    Risc-V is simple to implement in hardware, you can extend it’s instruction set to accomplish anything on your internal specialized hardware. Complex matrix math, vector array processing, distributed data sets and communication between modules.

  4. Reverse engineering? Is it a secret to making chips using EUV?

    Is funny to think China can’t make chips without the West machine. Jesus, they make the parts that make the EUV laser and the fabrication machine. Duh!

    China made a miss calculation in allowing the west to be the source of the chip building center. All these sanctions have done is delay the inevitable.

    • It took decades to develop successful EUV lithography. Only ASML makes the only successful commercial machines. China has not caught up to Boeing commercial airplane jet engines despite decades of trying.

      Certain technological capabilities are blockers. Intel has full access to EUV but does not have 7nm chips and smaller commercialized.

      • That’s peoples like you, inexperienced, with washed western mind think. For very unknown reasons they consider that western invented all and China and Russia only “stealing”. But of course like any western “think” this is not true. Russia have really breakthrough technologies but is weak commercializing it. Because Russia is a country of spirit and USA is country of money only. Also, if you follow scientific journals, you will see that China outperform USA at high end researches. But there are specific western blindnes on technologies that come outside west. Because I’m in this domain EUV is notba big deal, people already use Xray and electron litography. As well problem with the price is problem of the western countries not to China and Russia if they want to beat western “restrictions”. Se if they put to the western some restrictions. You quickly will learn that chips cannot be eaten and make heat. My strong advice is to leave idea for western supremacy because impact with real reality can have devastating consequences on you. Don’t warry for China and Russia – they existed much longer (especially first) before US and will exist enough longer after crash of US…

    • We spend so much money and time to research and develop this technology, only for China to steal and try to bring it to the market before us. Now the thieves outnumber us 10 to 1, so it’s really time to be vigilant.

      • Yeah, as we all sit here blabbing possible advantages and paths that we could take to overcome. We talk about it openly on here. For them to read. For them to then copy and do. 👏

    • So one eyed and bias. Typical arrogon westerner. What about America stole all the brilliant scientists from Europe after the WWll to create a war mongering USA.

  5. Every successful system start from simple R&D, so no doubt this simple 7nm chip will move forward somehow, sooner than one imagine .
    Just not long ago the US was keenly blocking the Sweden from selling the 14nm chip set machine to China and is still attempting to do so. Suddenly there is this 7nm chip production already appeared in China , rofl …..

  6. It is a simple chip. No shame in that. Another clarifying question would be what are the chip yields? Probably very low.

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