Qualcomm, the world’s largest maker of application processors (AP) for smartphones, has once again turned to Samsung to produce its next generation chips, industry sources said on June 7.
Samsung Foundry will begin mass producing the chips – dubbed the Snapdragon 865 – by the end of the year at its EUV-based 7nanometer process node to aim for release next year. Qualcomm is reportedly adding the final touches, said the sources.
With an initial monthly wafer input of around 18,000, production will commence at Samsung’s Hwaseong 17 line. Exclusive EUV lines will be completed this September to enable mass production as early as February next year, according to those close to the matter. To cut costs, Samsung is likely to apply EUV tech to layers 7 through 10, they added.
Samsung had produced Qualcomm chips up to 10nm. But for its first 7nm chips last year, Qualcomm chipmaker ditched the South Korean chip maker for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which had completed the highly-coveted conventional argon fluorine (ArF) technology.
Samsung is now expected to claw back some ground to improve its bottom line as Qualcomm appears to favor it over TSMC for better functionality and power-efficiency.
Samsung Electronics is No.2 in the global chip foundry market, following TSMC. It was the first in the world to complete EUV-based 7nm mass production process nodes from which it rolled out its first Exynos AP in April last year for the upcoming Galaxy Note 10.
US-based IBM will be another client who has signed on for the EUV-based 7nm process. IBM has officially announced that Samsung would be producing its next CPU chips, along with graphic processor unit designer Nvidia Corp.
“Aside from Apple and Huawei, most high-tech chip foundry orders have gone to Samsung Electronics,” said one industry watcher.