🧺 Good morning! It’s National Hanging Out Day, which I thought was exciting, but actually about using a clothesline for drying laundry. Which is good and just!
Samsung Foundry problems
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
I would say one of the hardest things in the world to do is to make next-generation semiconductors. The idea of stacking many billions of transistors into a microchip the size of a stamp to crunch numbers, along with all the layers of software that make it possible, is pretty awesome.
- That said, it’s a well-established field now, with many foundries around the world, including the recently famous TSMC, along with Intel, Global Foundries, and more – and of course, Samsung Foundry.
- As part of Samsung Electronics, Samsung has long been the world’s biggest memory chip manufacturer and one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies, on the bleeding-edge along with TSMC and Intel.
- But Samsung Foundry has had problems for some time with yields. One of the chip shortage issues still ongoing is related to just how poor Samsung’s yields have been on its advanced chips.
- One of those is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Reports out of Korea suggest a deeply frightening yield of just 35% with its 4nm node.
- TSMC is reportedly at 70%, a stunning difference.
- There are whispers that some Foundry executives “fabricated” reports to hide these poor yields to avoid trouble, and accordingly, funds set aside to improve these yields weren’t used.
It’s not getting any better:
- Samsung’s reported problems with its 4nm node are one thing, but it has been investing in its next 3nm node for the next-generation of semiconductor chips.
- But the yield problems continue, and Samsung’s reputation isn’t exactly improving, if the reports are even remotely accurate.
- Here’s the latest as written by my colleague Matt Milano following a report from Korean-language publication Businesspost.kr.
- It gets a bit technical, talking about the new transistor process being established by leading foundries, but stay with it:
“Samsung Foundries is dealing with sub-par yields. It’s believed the initial runs of Samsung’s 3nm chips will be used for its own Exynos line of semiconductors, most likely the successor to the Exynos 2200. Given Samsung’s desire to use its own chips [in its Galaxy smartphones] and reduce reliance on Qualcomm, if the reports are true, it could lead to supply constraints for its flagship devices.
In addition to moving from 4nm to 3nm, Samsung is also the first to use GAAFET (Gate all around FET), rather than the established FINFET (Fin FET) design.“It’s entirely possible that the move to GAAFET has helped contribute to Samsung’s problems since the new design requires a different approach. Intel tried using GAAFET with its 7nm processors before postponing the move due to similar issues to those Samsung is reportedly facing.
“Interestingly, TSMC has decided not to adopt GAAFET for its 3nm semiconductors, waiting until it moves to 2nm to implement the new transistor design.”
- Speculation is rife that Apple’s large share of TSMC’s advanced processes more or less forced Qualcomm to use Samsung for its current flagship chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which has been less than spectacular in terms of its efficiency, sustained performance, and issues with heating .
- Now rumors of problems with 3nm production at Samsung don’t sound great either.
- The next step is Qualcomm’s chips that will reportedly emerge from TSMC: the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, but made by TSMC, and likely called the 8 Gen 1 Plus.
- The world of Android enthusiasts is very much waiting to see how the TSMC-fabricated 8 Gen 1 Plus compares to the Samsung-fabbed 8 Gen 1.
📸 It looks like the Google Pixel 6a will be missing a camera feature, but if it’s the only missing feature, it’s all going to be okay (Android Authority).
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💡 Wow: Smart home company Insteon looks dead – just like its users’ smart homes. “The app and servers are dead. The CEO scrubbed his LinkedIn page. No one is responding. ” (Ars Technica).
- Most pictures were taken in Miami, in touristy spots where people are dressed up, and it’s believable for a few reasons: the guy is a great portrait photographer, and he livestreamed it as well.
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.