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Not all Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipsets could be created equal as Qualcomm eyes up TSMC's 4nm capacity for its chipset needs

TSMC could end up manufacturing some Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipsets
TSMC could end up manufacturing some Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipsets (image via TSMC)
A new DigiTimes report tells us that poor yields on Samsung's 4nm node have prompted Qualcomm to look at TSMC for its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 requirements. Hence, we could potentially end up with two variants of the chipset made by different manufacturers.

The Exynos 2100 and Snapdragon 888 highlighted numerous issues with Samsung's 5nm manufacturing node. Given the opportunity, Qualcomm would have loved to switch over to TSMC, but doing so was not possible as Apple had already called dibs on most of its capacity. Hence, it had no choice but to go back to Samsung for its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 requirements. Now, a new report from DigiTimes tells us that not all Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipsets could be created equal.

It seems that the yields of Samsung's 4nm node are less than ideal (30%, according to estimates), and Qualcomm isn't too happy about it. That's why it is eyeing up some of TSMC's 4nm capacity for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. It'll be interesting to see if TSMC can make room for the San Diego-based chipmaker. Fab space is precious in these troubling times, and TSMC could charge Qualcomm a premium for it, which, in turn, will drive smartphone costs even higher.

However, ordering parts from two vendors will probably not end well for Qualcomm. The disparity between the two processes means that the same chipset will have two sub-variants, and there's no way for an average consumer to determine which one is which. Historically, TSMC's process nodes have been vastly superior to Samsung's, and users who end up with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 made by the former will undoubtedly feel cheated.

Digitimes also adds that Samsung will rely on TSMC for its non-flagship Snapdragon 7 and 6 series chipsets. It shouldn't have much trouble securing capacity for these, as they're usually fabbed on older nodes. Then again, it has to compete against arch-rival MediaTek for fab space in the older nodes, as well. Negotiations between Qualcomm and TSMC for the latter's 5nm and 6nm capacity started earlier this year, so it shouldn't be long before both parties reach an agreement. 

Source(s)

DigiTimes (paywalled)

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Anil Ganti
Anil Ganti - Senior Tech Writer - 928 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2019
I've been an avid PC gamer since the age of 8. My passion for gaming eventually pushed me towards general tech, and I got my first writing gig at the age of 19. I have a degree in mechanical engineering and have worked in the manufacturing industry and a few other publications like Wccftech before joining Notebookcheck in November 2019. I cover a variety of topics including smartphones, gaming, and computer hardware.
contact me via: @AnilGanti, LinkedIn
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 12 > Not all Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipsets could be created equal as Qualcomm eyes up TSMC's 4nm capacity for its chipset needs
Anil Ganti, 2021-12- 7 (Update: 2021-12- 7)