Qualcomm will launch its first 3nm flagship smartphone chipset subsequent yr. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 might be reportedly manufactured by TSMC utilizing its second-gen 3nm course of (N3E). Samsung was additionally in rivalry to fabricate the chip (a portion of the overall quantity) however Qualcomm determined to solely use TSMC’s course of. Whereas it’s a large blow to the Korean agency, there may be some excellent news. It might get orders for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 5 in 2025.
Samsung and TSMC might break up Snapdragon 8 Gen 5 manufacturing
Qualcomm periodically switches between Samsung and TSMC for manufacturing its flagship chips. It used TSMC’s course of between 2013 and 2015 earlier than switching to Samsung in 2016. Qualcomm went again to TSMC in 2019 however returned to Samsung in 2021. The Korean agency manufactured its Snapdragon 888 (5nm), Snapdragon 888+ (5nm), and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (4nm) in 2021.
The next yr, TSMC obtained orders for the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, that are 4nm chips. The Taiwanese agency additionally manufactured this yr’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (4nm). Subsequent yr, Qualcomm was rumored to separate the manufacturing of Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 between its two foundry companions. Nevertheless, the Taiwanese media lately reported that TSMC has walked away with all the manufacturing quantity.
One other native report has now reiterated this. Taiwanese publication Technews states that Qualcomm was impressed by TSMC’s quickly bettering 3nm manufacturing capability and yield fee. The agency will shut this yr with a month-to-month manufacturing quantity of 60,000-70,000 wafers. Subsequent yr, its capability might exceed 100,000 wafers per 30 days. Its yield fee is alleged to be round 60%.
Qualcomm reportedly discovered Samsung a bit missing or conservative in each areas. For the reason that Korean agency hasn’t acquired main 3nm orders from some other firm, it was a large lack of alternative. Nevertheless, the brand new report says it’s nonetheless in rivalry to get a giant order from Qualcomm. Not subsequent yr, however in 2025. The American chip large reportedly plans to dual-source the Snapdragon 8 Gen 5 from Samsung and TSMC.
So much will depend upon the yield fee and manufacturing capability
Qualcomm selected TSMC for producing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 as a result of it noticed a aggressive edge in its yield fee and manufacturing capability. If Samsung drastically improves its 3nm course of over the subsequent yr and leapfrogs its Taiwanese rival, not less than in Qualcomm’s eyes, it might win the entire manufacturing contract for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 5. But when it fails to impress Qualcomm, TSMC would possibly nonetheless stroll away with all the order. Which agency comes out on prime, time will inform.