Rumors had been circulating over the past few months that Samsung could get limited orders from NVIDIA for its next-gen GPU. That would have represented a major win for the Korean conglomerate's foundry business that has been trying to win new customers. TSMC was believed to pick up the majority of orders for NVIDIA's Ampere GPUs with Samsung producing the rest.
If a new rumor is to be believed, this may not be the case. Samsung might actually be the sole manufacturer of NVIDIA's Ampere GPUs. The company is said to manufacture these graphics cards on its 8nm process technology.
NIVIDA picks Samsung as sole manufacturer for its Ampere GPUs
The information comes from @kopite7kimi on Twitter who has a proven track record when it comes to rumors about NVIDIA. It was claimed in response to a question about whether NVIDIA would pick TSMC's 7nm or Samsung's 8nm node that the Ampere gaming GPUs will be “100% Samsung 8nm.”
Earlier reports have suggested that customers are having to pay more in order to win slots in TSMC's 7nm production capacity where demand already outpaces supply. In order to strike a balance and reduce reliance on one fab partner, NVIDIA was believed to split its orders between the two companies, with Samsung only producing the entry-level Ampere graphics cards.
It's now believed that NVIDIA has decided to go entirely with Samsung's 8nm process which is derived from its excellent 10nm 10LPP process. Its 8nm node is a highly optimized derivative of the 10nm process node with an impressive transistor density of over 61 million/mm². Therefore, NVIDIA's entire upcoming GPU lineup including the GA102 silicon which will power at least three flagship consumer graphics cards will be based on the 8nm node.
None of this has been officially confirmed but it's all within the realm of possibility. There have been rumors about NVIDIA's new Ampere GPUs having high power draw. That would certainly be the case if they were based on the 8nm node and not 7nm as previously expected. Theoretically, NVIDIA's new cards would draw more power at 8nm than competing 7nm cards from AMD to get better performance figures.
Despite being a generation behind on the fab process node, NVIDIA would be able to deliver exceptional graphics performance as it has done in the past. Its 12nm Turing GeForce RTX 2080 Ti currently happens to be the fastest consumer GPU on the market. Whether or not this plays out in the way everyone now thinks it would remains to be seen.