US chip firm hints at reusing Samsung for GAA
TSMC dominated in 4nm and first batches of 3nm
Qualcomm SVP Don McGuire Image: TheElec
The US chip giant was continuing to collaborate with Samsung Foundry and will use multiple foundries, from the South Korean company, TSMC to GlobalFoundries, depending on their technological maturity going forward, Qualcomm senior vice president Don McGuire said during Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit 2022 in Hawaii in a meeting with South Korean press.
Qualcomm has currently given all its workload for 4-nanometer (nm) and 3nm chips to TSMC, the world’s largest foundry.
McGuire’s comments indicate that the US firm could give orders to Samsung Foundry again for follow-up nodes such as gate-all-around (GAA).
At the summit, Qualcomm unveiled its latest application processor the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
The chip boasts 4.35 times increased AI performance and 25% faster processing speed compared to its predecessor.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also uses Qualcomm’s new GPU and has a CPU with 40% increase in performance.
The chip will be made using TSMC’s 4nm node. For Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, Samsung Foundry was the initial contract manufacturer but Qualcomm gave the order to TSMC during the second half of last year.
Sources had said Samsung’s low yield rate for 4nm was the cause and the US chip firm will be giving TSMC the order for 3nm chips because of this.
McGuire said Qualcomm’s orders were too large for it to use a single foundry and using multiple foundries is not only advantageous in supply but also price and scale.
The US firm also needed multiple foundries to expand in other business areas besides smartphones, he added.
Meanwhile, Samsung, while it facing difficulty with yield with 4nm, was the first to start production of 3nm GAA chips.
TSMC has also started 3nm chip production but for these uses a FinFET structure rather than GAA. The Taiwanese giant is reportedly planning to apply GAA structure starting with 2nm.