The American corporation Qualcomm’s policy is to use the services of as many contract chip manufacturers as possible and therefore expects to receive its 3nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 mobile processors from both TSMC and Samsung. In practice, however, we had to temporarily deny its services, so for now only TSMC will produce 3nm chips for Qualcomm.
This was reported by TechNews with reference to TrendForce. According to the source, Qualcomm expects to use the services of two contractors in the production of 3nm chips no earlier than 2025, but for now it will rely entirely on Taiwanese company TSMC’s N3E process technology. Samsung Electronics is already expecting to introduce the second generation of 3nm process technology (3GAP or SF3) into mass production next year, but the planned expansion rate was lower than that required by Qualcomm and therefore the companies’ cooperation in this area did not take place . As part of the second generation of 3nm technology, Samsung will use an even more complex structure of MBCFET transistors, so migration difficulties are not excluded.
Samsung mastered the first generation of 3nm process technology (SF3E) with gate ambient transistor structure (GAA) in mass production as early as June 2022, but failed to attract many third-party customers. Samsung’s second generation 3nm process is also currently experiencing yield issues. Therefore, coupled with limited production capacity, the South Korean contractor was unable to receive orders from Qualcomm.
TSMC has no problems with the speed of expansion of 3nm production and plans to process 100,000 silicon wafers with this product type every month by the end of 2024 and double the share of the 3nm process in total sales, currently 5 to 10%.