Report: NVIDIA RTX 30 SUPER Series To Be Manufactured By Samsung As Well
According to a report out of Korea, NVIDIA has signed on Samsung for a second try at making its GeForce GPUs. Jennsen originally tapped Samsung's 8nm node (even though it was very slightly technically inferior to TSMC) because he foresaw the massive supply bottleneck that TSMC was turning into. While his reasoning was correct, the gamble does not appear to have paid off since Samsung's 8nm process suffered from low yields and a consequent lack of supply. Interestingly, there were reports a month or so back that Jensen had decided to go back to TSMC for its SUPER lineup (or whatever NVIDIA ends up calling it) but if this Korean story is correct - the second contract is also going to Samsung.
Samsung lands another contract, worth billions, to make NVIDIA GPUs from Jensen- likely the RTX 30 SUPER series
Before we go any further, please do keep in mind that as of right now, this is just one source and could be wrong. Although the report is extremely confident about this contract being awarded to Samsung, some salt is good for a healthy digestive system. Back to the story, the report claims the contract was confirmed on December 17 (yesterday depending on where you are) and that while the exact value is unknown it is worth "100s of billion won" (100s of billion won translate to 91 million USD roughly). Samsung will reportedly be making the chips at its Hwaseong plant.
If this is true, then this would free up a lot of space at TSMC going forward as NVIDIA's GPUs become one less thing for them to produce - but more importantly - it will result in NVIDIA having an exceptional supply advantage if Samsung manages to fix their 8nm yield issues. Considering NVIDIA very obviously would have made an educated decision, this bodes very well for the industry because it seems they are confident in Samsung's ability to fix yield (*cough* I am looking at you Intel * cough*). The report further mentions that Samsung is looking to narrow the gap between TSMC in the coming years.
The key lithographic technology that matters in nodes below 10nm (or 14nm if you are using Intel standards) is something called EUV. EUV (or Extreme Ultra Violet) lithography allows the foundry to significantly reduce the difficulty of fabricating a certain node because the wavelength used in EUV is significantly lower than standard lithographic scanners. While double (or even triple/quad) patterning is required with standard wavelengths, you can achieve 8nm with a single pattern on EUV. The company mentions that they will be using EUV to create a 4nm process that will narrow the gap between TSMC and Samsung. The company is spending $8.6 billion USD to develop chip foundry tech and has no plans of dropping out of the leading edge race anytime soon.
This is great news for pretty much everyone (well, except TSMC) because a lowered load on TSMC means more AMD products for everyone and also means exponentially more supply available for NVIDIA by late 2021. It is unclear whether Samsung plans to fix their yield problems or will simply subsidize the bad yields for the company. In any case, it was essential for the company to retain NVIDIA as a client considering the clout of the company (and their demand for a leading edge process) and this is a situation in which everyone appears to have won. While there is no word on what GPUs will be manufactured in this second contract, we can assume the RTX 30 SUPER series will be part of this.
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