[News] Samsung Reportedly Lands a 4nm Mega Order – Why is AMD Switching to “Dual Foundry Mode” for Its Next-Gen Chips?

2023-11-22 Semiconductors editor

According to TechNews’ report, there are recent rumors indicating that AMD’s next-generation chip, with the Zen5C architecture codenamed “Prometheus,” will adopt a “Dual Foundry Mode.” This means it will simultaneously utilize TSMC’s 3nm and Samsung’s 4nm processes. This move suggests that AMD aims to diversify chip manufacturing, avoiding reliance solely on TSMC for its upcoming products.

Industry sources suggest that factors such as geopolitical considerations, negotiation tactics, and the overall semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem drive the search for secondary sources. AMD’s decision to employ a dual foundry approach is likely a strategic move to mitigate risks in this dynamic landscape.

Reportedly, Samsung’s 4nm process will primarily be utilized for the base version of Prometheus, while TSMC’s 3nm process will be employed for the high-end variant of Prometheus.

EXTREMETECH finds AMD’s move intriguing, speculating that it might stem from uncertainty about sourcing all chips exclusively from TSMC. This is significant for Samsung, historically excluded from the consumer tech and gaming sector. Since NVIDIA switched from Samsung to TSMC for the production of Ampere GPUs using the 8nm process, Samsung has been left out of the equation.

If the collaboration between AMD and Samsung proves successful, other companies may also consider shifting to Samsung. Reports suggest that AMD’s choice of Samsung’s 4nm process over the 3nm process could be attributed to potential yield challenges.

While it’s uncertain whether AMD will indeed implement the “Dual Foundry Mode,” the anticipation for the Zen5 architecture next year is high. Samsung is currently ahead of the industry in the adoption of GAA (Gate-All-Around) technology for its manufacturing processes, introducing GAA technology with their 3nm process ahead of others in the industry. TSMC, on the other hand, is anticipated making a similar change no earlier than 2025.

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(Photo credit: AMD)