Qualcomm reportedly chooses TSMC over Samsung for 3nm chip production

stylised render of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC
(Image credit: Qualcomm)

The semiconductor shortage has left companies scrambling for ways to somehow up production in the current landscape. For some companies, that means thinking about switching up the production operations with business partners like AMD looking to move away from using TSMC to Samsung for fabrication needs. But as swings and roundabouts often go, it looks like Qualcomm could be set to make the opposite move.

Reported by The Elec, Qualcomm has already made its foundry orders for it’s upcoming 3 nm processors. Products with these processors aren’t set to release until next year, but production is said to already have begun late last year, and it’s exclusive to the juggernaut Taiwanese chip maker, TSMC. 

The orders haven’t been confirmed by Qualcomm yet, but the move is said to be in response to Samsung’s current yield difficulties. Reports are claiming the Samsung Foundry is only seeing a 35% yield rate for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 with potentially even lower rates for the Exynos 2200. 

It makes sense that company’s like Qualcomm might be getting nervous with those numbers, and instead look to put their trust in another company’s fab. The company is adept at looking towards the future, skipping over Wi-Fi 6E and going straight to 7, for example. It has still ordered 7nm RF chips through Samsung though, so relationships clearly aren’t over between the companies just yet.

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In fact, according to the report, the higher, yet still disappointing yield on the Snapdragon chips was due to support from Qualcomm to help troubleshoot and solve problems. Samsung has responded to the issues and is currently performing an audit of Samsung Foundry to get to the bottom of things.

Here’s hoping TSMC can handle the demand in the meantime. Fabless businesses like Qualcomm and AMD bring in big bucks to companies like Samsung and TSMC, though there’s more than enough work to go around in this semiconductor shortage. TSMC may be winning big on these contracts, and we are hopefully to see the supply shortages end soon but the industry still has skill shortages and environmental concerns to deal with

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Vooks.net. Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast right here. No, she’s not kidding.