October 5, 2022

Samsung’s 2nd generation 3nm GAA process will enter mass production in 2024; Smartphone sellers expected to strike new deals

Samsung recently started shipping its first-generation 3nm GAA chips, but unfortunately no smartphone vendors have shown any interest in this architecture, preferring to stick with TSMC for future orders. However, in 2024 things could improve as the vastly improved second-generation 3nm GAA process could attract more lucrative mobile customers.

Qualcomm reportedly one of the first smartphone vendors to take an interest in Samsung’s 3nm GAA process

Samsung’s first batch of 3nm GAA chips will be for cryptocurrency mining hardware, as no current information mentions the Korean manufacturer’s involvement in developing smartphone SoCs. It also means that Samsung will no longer work on its Exynos 2300, which was intended for various variants of the Galaxy S23, with a new agreement with Qualcomm indicating that the aforementioned series will only launch with Snapdragon chipsets.

Understandably, not getting customers is a setback for Samsung, and given that its 4nm process was plagued with issues, such as poor yields, it’s no surprise that many smartphone customers decided to give orders to TSMC, including Qualcomm. Fortunately, all is not lost. According to Sravan Kundojjala’s tweet, even if customers aren’t showing interest in Samsung’s 3nm GAA process, the company’s second-generation process should bring them back on board.

After all, Samsung claims that its second-generation 3nm GAA architecture brings massive improvements over the first iteration, such as reducing power consumption by up to 50%, increasing performance by 30%, and reduction of surface area by 35%. All of these improvements are compared to Samsung’s 5nm process. So, although the Korean giant did not provide statistical differences between its 4nm node, the 3nm GAA still provides improvement in various categories.

Qualcomm could rekindle a partnership with Samsung for 3nm GAA chips, but on condition that TSMC encounters performance issues with its own 3nm process. Perhaps that’s why Qualcomm reportedly asked its former chip supplier to produce samples on demand to assess whether this architecture is worthy of giving orders again. So far, Samsung is providing chip shipments in limited quantities, so there must be yield gains before Qualcomm can trust its old partner again.

News source: Sravan Kundojjala