Qualcomm Switches 3nm Process AP Foundry for Smartphones from Samsung Electronics to TSMC
🟦 Qualcomm changes foundry to TSMC
Qualcomm has decided to entrust the foundry of the 3nm next-generation smartphone AP (application processor) to be launched next year to TSMC in Taiwan instead of Samsung Electronics. Currently, Qualcomm has outsourced the production of the 4nm AP “snapdragon 8 gen1” to Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. in full.
At the end of last year, TSMC decided to produce not only the next-generation 3nm product, but also a part of the snapdragon 8 gen1. The product has already been introduced in wafers at TSMC and will be supplied to smartphone manufacturers from the second quarter of 2022. Instead, Qualcomm decided to continue using SAMS RF chips using the 7nm process to further increase production.
🟦Poor yield of 4nm process
Qualcomm’s decision is due to the Samsung foundry’s low yield issues. It seems that the yield of Qualcomm 4nmAP produced by Samsung is only about 35%. If you make 100 pieces, 65 are defective, which is a very bad condition. In addition, the yield of Samsung’s Exynos2200, which is produced on the same line, seems to be at a level lower than 35%.
The reason why the yield of the Qualcomm chip is higher than that of the Exynos200 is because Qualcomm headquarters executives and technicians are stationed at Samsung to solve the problem. In the situation of semiconductor supply shortage, it seems that they have decided that they can not be involved in the yield problem any more.
Qualcomm communicated this policy to Samsung Electronics’ head of the smartphone business, Roh Tae-moon, general manager of the MX Division, at the end of 2021.
NVIDIA also changed its GPU foundry from Samsung to TSMC last year for a 7nm process. Contract production of advanced processes is very important because it demonstrates the superiority of process technology. It is a big blow for Samsung to go after TSMC.
Qualcomm will change its manufacturing consignment to TSMC due to the poor yield of Samsung’s 4nm process.
For Samsung, which is building a semiconductor plant in Taylor, Texas, its notoriety for cutting-edge processes is very painful. Vice Chairman Lee Jae-young will not be silent in this situation.