Since many months ago, the two significant smelters, TSMC and Samsung, have been manufacturing 4 nm in large quantities. According to a report by Economic News Daily, Samsung would spend over 5,000 billion won, or 3.7 billion dollars, to expand its capabilities. Twenty thousand wafers per month are the smelter’s target production rate for the last three months of 2023.
Although Samsung has surpassed TSMC for the 3nm, it may seem crazy to invest in the 4nm. Especially given that Qualcomm, which trusted Samsung to produce its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, charged TSMC to deliver its Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, which is still manufactured at 4 nm.
Additionally, if the Snapdragon Gen 8 Gen 2 has not yet received formal announcements, this chip may transition to the 3 nm etching node. However, Samsung Foundry officials want to keep producing other firms’ chips, such as Google’s second-generation Tensor SoCs, which are still expected to be etched in 4 nm, and combine manufacturing of those chips.
In any event, Samsung has to maintain competitive pricing and enough manufacturing capacity if it wants to sustain its attraction to its present consumers or possibly draw in new ones. However, industry sources said at the start of the year that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 output was just 35%. The output capacity of the Taiwanese smelter is much larger, with a ratio of roughly 1 to 5.
An investment of 3.7 billion US dollars is not a large number for the South Korean manufacturer. The way TSMC and Samsung handle the switch to new transistor types to replace finFETs in smaller etching finesses may turn the cards a bit in the coming months.