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Samsung denies 3nm yield issues, Exynos 2500 is on track

1 week ago 12

Despite reports suggesting otherwise, Samsung says its 3nm chip process has no yield or performance issues. The company claims its second-gen 3nm process development is proceeding as planned. Its Exynos 2500 chipset for the Galaxy S25 series is expected to use the advanced process node.

Samsung claims its 3nm process has no yield or performance issues

Samsung started 3nm mass production in mid-2022, a few months before TSMC. However, the latter has had more success with its advanced process node. It stuck with the tried and tested FinFET transistor architecture and has achieved better yield than Samsung, which upgraded to the more advanced GAA architecture.

TSMC has already made 3nm mobile chips for Apple and is rumored to have bagged major 3nm manufacturing contracts from Google, MediaTek, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and other chipmakers. Samsung, on the other hand, didn’t produce mobile chips on its first-gen 3nm process node. Its first 3nm chip is the Exynos W1000 powering the Galaxy Watch 7 and Galaxy Watch Ultra launched earlier today.

Multiple sources recently said that the Korean firm is struggling with its 3nm yield, the percentage of usable chips produced out of the total manufactured. The yield rate of the Exynos 2500 was reportedly in single digits in the first quarter of 2024. It improved to around 20% in the second quarter, but that is still substantially less than TSMC. The yield rate must be at least 60% for mass production.

This led to rumors that Samsung might not use its Exynos flagship in the Galaxy S25 series. However, the company refutes the reports. At the Korean edition of its annual Samsung Foundry Forum (SFF), the firm said its 3nm development is on track. The production of chips using its second-gen 3nm process is proceeding as planned “based on stable performance and yield,” Samsung said in a press release.

Hopefully, this is true. According to reports, the Exynos 2500 yield must reach 60% by October for a timely mass production for the Galaxy S25 series, which will arrive in early 2025. Samsung still has a few months of buffer. It might be enough for the trench titan to turn the tide. The Korean firm may still use Qualcomm’s 3nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 in its next-gen flagships in some markets.

Samsung plans to launch 2nm chips in 2025

At the US edition of SFF 2024 last month, Samsung announced plans to launch AI-focused 2nm chips in 2025. The company has now revealed that it has won a 2nm production contract from Japanese AI startup and IoT Preferred Networks (PFN). TSMC also aims to begin 2nm mass production next year. The Taiwanese firm certainly won the 3nm battle. It remains to be seen if Samsung can fight back in the 2nm era.

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