Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 chipset might not be dual-sourced after all

Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 chipset might not be dual-sourced after all
Back in April, an interesting and intriguing rumor was making the rounds; the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4, expected to be unveiled in 2024, would be manufactured by the top two foundries in the world, TSMC, and Samsung Foundry. Both would use their 3nm process node to build the chip which would have given the Samsung chip a possible edge in performance and efficiency. 

That's because Samsung Foundry's 3nm node uses gate-all-around (GAA) transistors that have less current leakage and a greater current drive because the gate surrounds the channel on all four sides. As a result, chips using GAA transistors have better performance and save on energy consumption. TSMC won't be using GAA transistors until it starts its 2nm production in 2024-2025.

But this isn't why Qualcomm is now considering handing production of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 to Samsung Foundry and Samsung Foundry alone. The reason is that TSMC might not have the production capacity available to fill the order. Apple and MediaTek will allegedly take up 85% of TSMC's 3nm production next year leaving just 15% for Qualcomm.

According to one X subscriber who is a computer engineer focused on semiconductors (@MappleGold), all variations of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 will be made by Samsung Foundry including the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 for Galaxy.

TSMC's 3nm yield is rumored to be low at 55% although other reports claim that it is in the 70-80% range. Assuming that it is 55%, @MappleGold states, "If TSMC is able to improve their 3nm yield in a year, and if their 3nm ratio is better than that SF offers, maybe the game will change, there is still a lot of uncertainty at the moment, given that TSMC capacity will always be full of Apple."

While the picture is about as clear as the Hudson River, it would seem that the only options that Qualcomm has is to give Samsung Foundry the go-ahead to produce 100% of its orders for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 or take what it can get from TSMC and hand over the rest of the orders to Samsung Foundry. Either way, we wouldn't say that Qualcomm will be dual-sourcing production of the chip.

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