Qualcomm Eyes Dual-Sourcing Snapdragon 8 Gen 5 with Samsung, TSMC

Qualcomm Eyes Dual-Sourcing Snapdragon 8 Gen 5 with Samsung, TSMC

Qualcomm is reportedly contemplating a "dual-sourcing production strategy" for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 5 chipset. The production will involve both Samsung Electronics and TSMC. According to Businesskorea, during a media briefing at the W Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan, on June 4th, Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon disclosed this information in response to a question.

Qualcomm is weighing a dual-sourcing strategy crucial for its business

The inquiry pertained to the risks of relying solely on one manufacturer for all its chips. Amon indicated that he is considering partnering with Samsung in addition to TSMC for chip fabrication. Interestingly, the forthcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 will be fully produced by TSMC. However, changes to the strategy might begin with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 5. "The current focus must be on the foundry production at TSMC," he confirmed.

The idea of a dual-sourcing strategy for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 5 has been a frequent topic recently. Additionally, Qualcomm internally values Samsung’s 2nm SF2 process, which is anticipated to offer significant enhancements in both performance and power efficiency.

Previous collaboration with Samsung Foundry fell short

Qualcomm has previously collaborated with Samsung for chip fabrication (the Snapdragon 888 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1). However, both chips failed to meet expectations regarding stable performance. Due to overheating issues, Qualcomm had to revert to TSMC starting with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which was adopted by the Galaxy Z Fold 4. The refreshed Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 with TSMC’s 4nm process node showed notable improvements in power efficiency and sustained performance.

On the other hand, Samsung has significantly improved the power efficiency of its recent generations of Exynos chips (Exynos 220 and Exynos 2400) that are also fabricated by Samsung Foundry. The Exynos 2400 version of the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus does not exhibit a performance gap as wide as it did a couple of years ago. Nonetheless, we will have to wait to see how successful Samsung will be with its 3nm process, and more importantly, with the 2nm and smaller nodes that might be used to fabricate future Snapdragon chips.

Lastly, the CEO mentioned the dual-sourcing strategy but did not detail its implementation. Samsung offers different chipsets in its flagships based on regions. Will Qualcomm’s dual-sourcing strategy be similar? The only clarity at this point is that Qualcomm is considering the new partnership with Samsung as a backup while keeping the primary focus on collaboration with TSMC. More details will be shared as they become available.

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