Why Qualcomm may go to TSMC for its most-powerful processor of 2024


Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered smartphones have just started to launch and reports about the next generation of Qualcomm flagship chipset have started to pour in from multiple quarters. Multiple reports have suggested that a majority of the San Diego-based chipmaker’s next SoC, which may be called Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, will be manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
TSMC 3nm yield rate
The speculations about TSMC making a large chunk of the rumoured Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC cropped up after a report in Chinese publication Business Next cited TSMC chairman Mark Liu as saying that the current yield rate of 3nm is similar to that of 5nm during the same period. It means that the yield rate of 3nm process node could reach about 60-70% and even 80% in some cases.
The claim has been echoed by some analysts who said that TSMC’s target yield rate for 3nm in the future should fall between 70% and 75%.

This is probably the reason why Qualcomm, and even Apple could go to TSMC for manufacturing of their next generation chipsets. As per Liu, the logic density of 3nm will increase by about 60%, and the power consumption will be reduced by 30-35% at the same speed.
Reportedly, Liu also said that the company has had no issues with the yields so far and it sees 3nm as a $1.5 trillion cash cow.

Samsung 3nm yield rate
It is to be noted that Samsung was the first company to begin production of 3nm chips, however, people familiar with the matter have been cited as saying that Samsung’s 3nm yield rate was less than 20%. It is also reported that some wafers even had a yield rate of only 10%.
Analysts pointed out that due to the complexity of the manufacturing process, which may include as many as 1,000 steps, it is difficult to improve the yield rate.

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