Samsung Foundry Ready to Mass Produce Chips Using Third-Generation 4nm Process Node
Samsung Foundry has resolved its yield issues from last year and is now ready to mass produce chips using its third-generation 4nm process node. According to Business Korea (via Wccftech), Samsung Foundry is the world’s second-largest foundry and is now able to produce more powerful and energy-efficient chips as the transistor count increases with the decrease in process node number.
Qualcomm Moves Production to TSMC
Qualcomm moved production of the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and the upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 to TSMC due to Samsung Foundry’s yield issues. Apple is the only company interested in 3nm right now and has reserved all of TSMC’s 3nm production this year. As a result, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 will also be produced using a 4nm node.
Improvements in Yield Rate and Performance
Industry insiders report that Samsung Foundry’s yield rate has improved to 60% from a low of 35% last year. Samsung has also made improvements to its 4nm node, delivering boosts in performance and energy-efficiency. This may entice some of the foundry’s customers, such as Qualcomm and MediaTek, to return.
The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra could be the only phones using a 3nm SoC in 2023
Mass Production to Begin in First Half of 2023
Mass production using the third-gen 4nm process node will start sometime during the first half of this year. While 3nm is the most advanced node available, analytic firm Counterpoint Research reports that a leading 22% of chips produced during the third quarter of last year were built using the 4nm and 5nm processes, topping the 16% that were manufactured using 6nm and 7nm process nodes. The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra are expected to be the only phones powered by 3nm silicon this year.
Google Tensor 3 for Pixel 8 Line to Use Third-Generation 4nm Process Node
Google is expected to release the Pixel 8 series during the fourth quarter of this year, and it is likely that the third-generation 4nm process node will be used to produce the Google Tensor 3 chipset for the new handsets. The Pixel Fold, Pixel Tablet, and the Pixel 7a, all expected to be launched this year, should be powered by the Tensor 2, which is built on Sammy’s second-generation 4nm node. That chip is already found under the hoods of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.
Production in the United States
TSMC and Samsung plan on producing 4nm chips in the United States starting next year. TSMC has the fab it built in Phoenix, Arizona, while Samsung Foundry’s facility in Taylor, Texas, is adding a 4nm production line.
Samsung Foundry has resolved its yield issues and is now ready to mass produce chips using its third-generation 4nm process node. With improvements in yield rate and performance, Samsung Foundry hopes to entice some of its customers, such as Qualcomm and MediaTek, to return. The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra are expected to be the only phones powered by 3nm silicon this year, while the Google Tensor 3 for the Pixel 8 line could be built using Samsung’s next-gen 4nm process node. TSMC and Samsung plan on producing 4nm chips in the United States starting next year.