Qualcomm’s 3nm SoC Orders Will Be Handled by TSMC, but It May Partner With Samsung Again Due to the Latter’s Shift to GAA Technology

Nov 16, 2022 02:50 AM EST
Qualcomm’s 3nm SoC Orders Will Be Handled by TSMC, but It May Partner With Samsung Again Due to the Latter’s Shift to GAA Technology

The newly announced Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 was exclusively made using TSMC’s highly efficient 4nm process. Qualcomm likely sought the Taiwanese manufacturer’s superior technology after the performance, and thermal throttling issues appeared in droves with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which was mass-produced on Samsung’s 4nm node.

For 2023, a report claims that Qualcomm’s 3nm chip orders will be given to TSMC once more, but there is still a chance Samsung re-enters the supply chain fold, assuming the Korean’s foundry can avoid the previous issues that caused it to lose the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 orders in the first place.

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Qualcomm Could Use a Dual-Source Business Approach, With Samsung’s 3nm GAA Technology Used to Fulfill Some Chip Orders

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Don Maguire met with reporters at the Snapdragon Summit held in Hawaii, and told them about Qualcomm’s future when it came to foundry partners, claims The Elec. When talked about cutting-edge manufacturing processes like 3nm and 2nm, Maguire reportedly said that Qualcomm is maintaining a ‘cooperative relationship with Samsung.’

Maguire also mentioned Qualcomm’s current state as a company that was too large to rely on a single chip manufacturer and says that switching to a multi-foundry approach will ease supply problems. Additionally, employing this business practice should enable the firm to maintain leverage on pricing, which is an approach that companies like Apple religiously follow.

“Qualcomm is too large to go with a single foundry. The multi-foundry strategy is much easier in terms of supply, but it is also advantageous in terms of price competitiveness and scale. In particular, a multi-foundry strategy is more appropriate for expanding into business areas other than smartphones.”

In addition to Samsung’s inferior 4nm technology compared to TSMC’s when comparing power efficiency alone, the Korean manufacturer was also experiencing lower yields with its wafers. The company has shifted to the 3nm GAA process, which Samsung claims can reduce power consumption by up to 45 percent and improve performance by 23 percent. However, it is yet to undertake orders for any smartphone partners.

The technology giant aims to keep the momentum going with its second-generation 3nm GAA fabrication, which should reduce power consumption reduction by up to 50 percent and increase performance by 30 percent compared to its 5nm architecture. Qualcomm was previously reported to review Samsung’s 3nm GAA samples and make a business decision accordingly, and assuming TSMC faces yield problems with its own 3nm process, the partnership may materialize in the future.

For now, however, TSMC will continue fulfilling Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 orders for Qualcomm, and in 2023, we will see what plans follow, so stay tuned.

Source: The Elec