TSMC’s yields on early 3nm production are reportedly as high as 80%
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, Qualcomm’s new top-of-the-line application processor (AP), is being produced by TSMC with one exception. The overclocked version of the chip being used to power the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S23 series will be made by…Samsung Foundry. The difference is the faster clock speed for the CPU’s X-3 high-performance core which will run at 3.32GHz compared to a clock speed of 3.2GHz for the TSMC version.
Samsung Foundry reportedly lost some of Qualcomm’s business due to low yields
For example, the 2019 iPhone 11 series featured the 7nm A13 Bionic SoC with 8.5 billion transistors inside. This year’s A16 Bionic, produced using TSMC’s 4nm process node, contains nearly 16 billion transistors.
Samsung’s 3nm nodes differ from TSMC’s in a very important way
Samsung’s 3nm chips have a major structural difference from TSMC’s. Samsung is using gate-all-around (GAA) transistors which allow for more control over the current flow of a transistor. This is because GAA transistors have vertically stacked nanosheets to cover all four sides of the channel for more control and less leakage. TSMC’s 3nm node still uses FinFET transistors that have horizontally placed “fins” that cover only three sides of the channel. TSMC will switch to GAA for its 2nm production.
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