TSMC is rumored to add more customers to its N3E lines next year, according to the latest rumor doing the rounds claiming that Qualcomm will obtain shipments for its chipsets on the cutting-edge manufacturing process alongside Apple. Previously, the San Diego firm was said to be ditching the Taiwanese manufacturer and switching to Samsung’s foundry exclusively for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 as TSMC could only allocate 15 percent of its 3nm production to Qualcomm.
Total N3E shipments allocation for Qualcomm is not mentioned in the report, Apple may once more take the majority of orders from TSMC
Apple may have secured nearly all of TSMC’s 3nm wafer shipments for this year, but 2024 is said to have a different ending. Commercial Times reports that Qualcomm and MediaTek will share the N3E production lines as they prep their own next-generation smartphone chipsets. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 is said to be the first product from the company to feature custom Oryon cores which were possible thanks to the Nuvia acquisition, while MediaTek has its own plans.
One reason why Qualcomm has not taken advantage of TSMC’s N3B node this year is due to increased wafer cost and low yields. N3E is the manufacturer’s improved technology, with yields reportedly seeing a dramatic improvement and lowered production cost that will only favor the chipset maker. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 launching later this year is said to be mass-produced on TSMC’s N4P or advanced 4nm architecture, and it too has been rumored to be more expensive than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which was said to cost $160 per unit.
Assuming Qualcomm would have ended up using TSMC’s N3B wafers this year, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3’s price would have been astronomically high. This would force its smartphone and tablet partners to either cut their margins significantly or raise the price of their own products, neither of which would have been beneficial for those companies. This means that even though the performance and power-efficiency gap between the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 and Apple’s A17 Bionic will increase this year, it will not be at the cost of Qualcomm’s partners.
Likely, Apple will once more take the majority of TSMC’s N3E shipments for next year as it will utilize that technology for a wide range of chipset launches. Apart from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 4, the only other launch we can think of now is the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4, which will likely be found in Windows notebooks.
News Source: Commercial Times