Tuesday, March 1st 2022

Samsung Foundry Looking to Win Over Customers From TSMC

Based on details posted by the Commercial Times in Taiwan, it would appear that Samsung Foundry is working on ways to win over customers from TSMC. The backstory is that fabless chip makers have had to change foundries over time, due to the fact that from a foundry side, it's expensive to be on the cutting edge and many foundries have stepped out of the race. This has left the fabless chip makers with fewer options and with TSMC as the de facto industry leader today. That said, as we've seen, NVIDIA and Qualcomm picked Samsung Foundry for some of their latest chips, but based on industry rumours, the yields aren't great.

Samsung Foundry has been trying to win over customers by offering attractive pricing compared to TSMC, but far from everyone has been interested. Some companies, like Apple, have tried to work with Samsung, but abandoned them in the end in favour of TSMC. Samsung is said to be courting both AMD and NVIDIA, as well as others, although only time will tell if we'll see any future product from either company being manufactured by Samsung Foundry. The fact that there are investigations into the yields at Samsung Foundry should be a concern for any future customer and isn't a good sign of where the company is heading.
Sources: Commercial Times, via @dnystedt
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17 Comments on Samsung Foundry Looking to Win Over Customers From TSMC

#1
zlobby
Right, with 30-40% yields!
Posted on Reply
#2
DeathtoGnomes
zlobbyRight, with 30-40% yields!
was that why apple dropped them?
Posted on Reply
#3
zlobby
DeathtoGnomeswas that why apple dropped them?
I guess so.
Posted on Reply
#4
Xex360
Meaning prices will get even higher with only TSMC having cutting edge technology.
Posted on Reply
#5
TheLostSwede
DeathtoGnomeswas that why apple dropped them?
Most likely not, as that was some years ago already.
I guess it had more to do with the fact that they weren't progressing as quickly as TSMC.
However, it now looks like even Apple is going to end up running into issues, as TSMC can't progress as quickly as they have these past few years.
It's likely we're going to see an industry wide change in how chips are made, maybe not now, but within a handful of years.
Posted on Reply
#6
DeathtoGnomes
TheLostSwedeIt's likely we're going to see an industry wide change in how chips are made, maybe not now, but within a handful of years.
Well, yea, changes are in the works with how many new fabs being built or planned to be build in that next handful of years? 3 or 4 in the US alone.
Posted on Reply
#7
TechLurker
As they are currently, Samsung would be better off as a secondary manufacturer. AMD could maybe use them for newer chiplets that don't scale down as well (like newer I/O dies) and maybe HBM chips and lower end GPUs, assuming Samsung is able to refine their nodes to improve their slice of RDNA2 and HBM becomes cheap enough to utilize.
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#8
TheLostSwede
DeathtoGnomesWell, yea, changes are in the works with how many new fabs being built or planned to be build in that next handful of years? 3 or 4 in the US alone.
We're also likely to see fewer, huge monolithic chips, as they're too costly to make and there's too big of a risk of defects that would spoil too many chips.
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#9
Denver
If only samsung had decent wafer yield...It would really help the market.
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#10
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
zlobbyRight, with 30-40% yields!
Nah, they have 99% yields. Chief engineer Kim wrote "Trust me bro" in his report to corporate.
Posted on Reply
#11
Assimilator
After the RTX 3000 series' low efficiency on Samsung's 8nm node, and now the reports of fabricated yield levels, I think Samsung will have to start paying companies to use their fabs...

Will be interesting to see if NVIDIA sticks with them for RTX 4000, or is able to crawl back to TSMC.
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#12
zlobby
AssimilatorAfter the RTX 3000 series' low efficiency on Samsung's 8nm node, and now the reports of fabricated yield levels, I think Samsung will have to start paying companies to use their fabs...

Will be interesting to see if NVIDIA sticks with them for RTX 4000, or is able to crawl back to TSMC.
With West Taiwan doing 'military excercises' near the island, TSMC's prognosis isn't good. Soon 28nm may again become the norm...
Posted on Reply
#13
mechtech
Strange don't hear more about GloFo, I mean ya 14/12nm isn't 7nm, but for the smaller stuff it be fine. I'd take a radeon 6600 on it if it was MSRP and live with the extra power consumption vs a TSMC 6600 at 3x MSRP.
Posted on Reply
#14
Minus Infinity
AssimilatorAfter the RTX 3000 series' low efficiency on Samsung's 8nm node, and now the reports of fabricated yield levels, I think Samsung will have to start paying companies to use their fabs...

Will be interesting to see if NVIDIA sticks with them for RTX 4000, or is able to crawl back to TSMC.
Nvidia has bought up huge amount of TSMC 5nm node, Samsung is on the outer. Lovelace will me TSMC for at least the top three tiers.
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#15
uftfa
zlobbyRight, with 30-40% yields!
That's not a big problem for prospective customers because Samsung only asks top-tier customers to pay for operational chips. That's really the only way anyone will give them business at this point.
Posted on Reply
#16
Denver
uftfaThat's not a big problem for prospective customers because Samsung only asks top-tier customers to pay for operational chips. That's really the only way anyone will give them business at this point.
This is very bad for Samsung if it's true...30-40% for a mobile soc is a precarious wafer yield
Posted on Reply
#17
watzupken
I feel Samsung may win business from companies that did not managed to get sufficient allocation or can’t afford TSMC’s fab. Which is no compliment in my opinion. I feel they should be working on improving their fab yield and quality while also trying to market their fab. News of Qualcomm ditching Samsung for TSMC will certainly raise some red flags for potential customers.
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