Can Samsung get its 3nm Exynos 2500 yield high enough to use the chip in the Galaxy S25?

Can Samsung get its 3nm Exynos 2500 yield high enough to use the chip in the Galaxy S25?
Earlier this week we told you that thanks to poor yields experienced by Samsung Foundry with its 3nm production, Samsung might not have enough Exynos 2500 chipsets available to use on some flagship Galaxy S25 series models next year. For example, this year both the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24+ are powered by the Exynos 2400 application processor (AP) except in the U.S., Canada, and China where the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 AP is used instead. The latter chip is under the hood of all Galaxy S24 Ultra models.

Normally we'd expect next year's Galaxy S25 line to have the same exact set up with the Exynos 2500 AP driving the Galaxy S25 and Galaxy S25+ in all markets except for the U.S., Canada, and China. In those markets, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 chipset will be employed and the same chip will run the Galaxy S25 Ultra in all regions. But with Samsung Foundry, which is producing the Exynos 2500 using its 3nm node for the first time on Exynos silicon, Samsung's yield at this node has been below expectations according to prescient analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

A low yield means that too many dice cut from the silicon wafers used to produce these chips are failing to pass Quality Control. While a yield above 60% is required for mass production, Samsung Foundry struggled at a 20% yield during the second quarter which was still a solid increase from the single digit yield Samsung Foundry had during Q1. Meanwhile, yield is not a problem for the world's leading foundry, TSMC, which will use its second-gen N3E 3nm process node to manufacture the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 AP.

While the reports seem to indicate that the Galaxy S25 series will have to use Qualcomm's SoC in all of the Galaxy S25 series handsets, Sammy is not giving up. According to ZDNet Korea (via Android Authority), Samsung has decided to make "all-out efforts" to improve the yield of Exynos 2500 SoC production during the second half of the year.

Since mass production of the Exynos 2500 AP isn't expected until the end of the year, there still is time for Samsung Foundry to get its yield up but this does not seem to be likely. As a result, the odds favor Samsung using the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 SoC to power all Galaxy S25 series models. And with Qualcomm expected to price the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 AP 25%-30% higher than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 AP, we could be looking at a price hike for Samsung's 2025 flagship line.

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