[News] Samsung Fails to Secure Qualcomm’s 3nm Orders for the Coming Year, Dual Foundry Strategy Postponed

2023-12-01 Consumer Electronics editor

According to TechNews’ report, TSMC and Samsung fiercely compete in the semiconductor foundry sector. Earlier market reports suggested that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 mobile processor might adopt a dual-foundry strategy with TSMC and Samsung manufacturing simultaneously.

However, according to the latest industry information, due to Samsung’s conservative expansion plan for next year’s 3nm production capacity and unstable yields, Qualcomm has officially canceled the plan to utilize Samsung for next year’s processors. The dual-sourcing model is now postponed until 2025.

Samsung began mass production of its first-generation 3nm GAA (SF3E) process at the end of June last year, marking Samsung’s initial use of the innovative GAA architecture for transistor technology. The second-generation 3nm process, 3GAP (SF3), will utilize the second-generation MBCFET architecture, optimizing it based on the foundation of the first-generation 3nm SF3E. It is expected to enter mass production in 2024.

The dual-foundry strategy for Qualcomm was initially leaked by the reputable source Revegnus via the X platform (formerly Twitter). It was mentioned that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 processor would adopt TSMC’s 3nm (N3E) process, while Samsung’s 3GAP process would be used for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 supplying Samsung’s Galaxy series smartphones. Other sources suggested that due to limited capacity at TSMC’s 3nm production, Qualcomm had to seek Samsung as an alternative chip foundry.

As a result, Qualcomm originally anticipated dual-foundry production with both TSMC and Samsung in 2024, with hopes of being the first customer for the 3GAP process. However, considering Samsung’s conservative 3nm production capacity plan for next year and the instability in yields, Qualcomm decided to scrap the plan and exclusively rely on TSMC, pushing the dual-foundry strategy to 2025.

Currently, TSMC’s 3nm process technology capacity is on the rise, with expectations that by the end of 2024, monthly production capacity will reach 100,000 wafers, and the revenue contribution will increase from the current 5% to 10%.

(Photo credit: Qualcomm)

Read more