Over the past few years, Samsung Foundry lost several chip clients to TSMC due to its lower chip manufacturing yields and thermal issues. However, the South Korean firm is banking on its upcoming 3nm chip manufacturing process to win back clients from TSMC. It is being reported that Samsung's 3nm chip manufacturing yield has surpassed that of TSMC, which is a rare feat from Samsung.
According to KMIB News, Hi Investment & Securities, an investment firm, has published a report stating that the yield of Samsung Foundry's 4nm semiconductor fabrication process has crossed the 75% mark. At the same time, that of TSMC is 80%. Yield in a semiconductor fabrication process means how much of the semiconductor wafer is usable. The higher the yield, the higher the number of chips that can be made using the semiconductor wafer, resulting in improved costs and efficiency. While TSMC is still ahead of Samsung Foundry in the 4nm process, Samsung Foundry has reportedly surpassed TSMC in 3nm chip yields.
Samsung Foundry may have finally surpassed TSMC, offering a better yield with the 3nm chip manufacturing process
According to the report, Samsung Foundry's yield for its 3nm chip manufacturing process is 60%. In comparison, TSMC's 3nm chip yield is around 55%. It means Samsung finally has the upper hand over TSMC in ultra-advanced chip manufacturing technology. Since TSMC is behind Samsung Foundry in the 3nm segment, it is possible that Samsung could win back the clients it lost to TSMC for 4nm and 5nm processes.
Nvidia and Qualcomm are said to be interested in Samsung Foundry's second-generation 3nm (SF3) process, as most of TSMC's chip product capacity is booked by Apple. Moreover, chips made in TSMC's Japan and US plants are expected to be 15% and 30% costlier, respectively, than its chip plants in Taiwan. Hence, the combination of higher costs and lower capacity could make Nvidia, Qualcomm, and others consider Samsung Foundry's 3nm chip manufacturing process. AMD could also offer a contract to Samsung Foundry to make its 3nm and 4nm chips.
To diversify its supply chain, Nvidia is even open to letting Intel Foundry make its future chips using the 2nm process that will be available sometime in late 2024. In comparison, Samsung Foundry and TSMC plan to manufacture chips using their 2nm process in 2025. Samsung's 1.4nm chip manufacturing process will be available in 2027.