Samsung Foundry and TSMC are the two largest independent chip foundries in the world. They take chip designs made by manufacturers like Apple, Qualcomm, Mediatek, Nvidia and others and turn them into advanced chipsets used in phones, cars and other devices. Next year, both foundries will ship chips produced with the latest 3nm process nodes.
Typically the smaller the process node number, the higher the number of transistors. And that’s important, because the higher the number of transistors, the more powerful and energy-efficient a chip is. In addition to moving to the next process node, Samsung will use its latest transistor design known as Gate all-around (GAA), while TSMC will still use the older FinFET design for its 3nm chips, which will also be used in some consumer devices. included (like the iPhone 14 Pro models) next year.
Samsung’s 3nm chips are up to 35% smaller, up to 30% more powerful and consume up to 50% less energy
Using the 3nm process node with GAA should allow Samsung to reduce by up to 35% in chip size, up to 30% higher performance and as much as 50% reduction in power consumption. Today, Samsung was able to show the new process node to US President Joe Biden when he visited Samsung’s campus earlier Friday. It is the world’s largest semiconductor factory, according to Yonhap News
A waffle from which the very latest chipsets are cut
The president was accompanied on his tour of the facility by Lee Jae-yong, vice president of Samsung Electronics. A Samsung official with knowledge of its advanced chip technology said: “Samsung could show Biden a 3-nm chip to emphasize its foundry capabilities over Taiwan’s TSMC,” Samsung did have a problem with poor yields on its 4nm production with Reportedly only 35% of the chips it built on that process node can pass quality control
about half the yield of TSMC at 4nm.
As a result, Samsung has lost some business to TSMC. The latter builds Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset and is expected to produce the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Application Processor (AP). But previous reports have indicated that the yields from Samsung’s 3nm GAA production were even worse than the 4nm yield, although Samsung claims yields have improved.
Samsung owns 18.3% of global foundry business compared to 52.1% of TSMC
According to Trend Force, TSMC had a global market share of 52.1% in the industry in the fourth quarter of last year. Samsung’s market share was 18.3% over the same period. And looking ahead, Samsung is working on its 2nm process node and hopes to begin mass production of such chips by 2025.
TSMC is unlikely to lose its lead over Samsung Foundry, especially since Apple is the biggest customer. Apple has already reserved 3nm chip production from TSMC for its A-series and M-series chipsets.