Samsung Electronics Co.’s mobile processor Exynos 2200 [Photo provided by Samsung Electronics]
Samsung Electronics Co. began to secure major global clients with an improvement in its 4-nanometre (nm) chip technology, which had posed a challenge to its yield at the early stage of mass production.
The chipmaker’s 4-nm process yield is now close to 5nm-process levels, the latest process in chip production. The chip’s yield refers to a percentage of the total number of chips produced to the maximum chip count on one wafer.
According to a recent post on Samsung Electronics’ social media, the yield of its 4-nm process has improved so rapidly that it is now close to the levels of the 5-nm process. “The next-generation 4-nm process will provide more advanced yields,” said Samsung Electronics. Industry insiders said it’s a rare announcement from the chipmaker to unveil details of its chip yields to the public.
Samsung Electronics is focusing on the production of 4-nm chips, even as it kicked off the world’s first mass production of 3-nm chips last month. However, the chipmaker struggled to ensure a high enough yield of the 4-nm process at the early stage of production after unveiling the technology in 2021.
The challenge forced Samsung Electronics to lose a competitive edge to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), as Qualcomm Inc., one of its high-profile customers, moved over to the Taiwan-based chipmaker with higher yields. Due to the yield challenge, the Korean chipmaker had to adopt Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 for the Galaxy S22 chipset instead of its mobile processor Exynos 2200.
Samsung Electronics, however, has made significant improvements in raising the yield and production capacity altogether this year. The enhanced yield is comparable to that of TSMC, according to industry insiders.
The yield improvement has helped Samsung Electronics to lure back its clients. According to industry sources, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Samsung Electronics entered into a partnership as the U.S. company chose the Korean chipmaker’s 4-nm processor. Samsung Electronics will also outsource the Tensor 3 chip for Google’s Pixel 8 smartphone, using its third-generation 4-nm process node.
By Oh Chan-jong and Han Yubin
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