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Qualcomm Might Use TSMC’s 5nm Technology For Snapdragon 875 SoC

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Qualcomm recently introduced the Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC, a higher binned version of the Snapdragon 855 chipset. However, that was a mid-cycle refresh and the company will be introducing a new chipset by the end of the year.

And, of course, next year there will be another mobile platform, possibly one that will be made using the 5nm technology and a Chinese publication has got some scoop on it.

The report says that in 2021, Qualcomm will be going back to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company or TSMC. The chipset will apparently be called the Snapdragon 875 SoC and it will be made using the 5nm process.

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Back in April, TSMC revealed that its 5nm design infrastructure has been completed. Compared to 7FF, this node aims for 45 percent area reduction. However, it will only offer a 15 percent improvement in performance at the same power. TSMC says that its 5nm technology will provide the computing power required to keep up with AI and 5G.

The report also alleges that the Snapdragon 865 chipset, which will likely be announced in December, will come in two versions. Apparently known internally as SM8250, the two variants of the chipsets have the code names Kona and Huracan. Both the version of the Snapdragon 865 mobile platform will supposedly support LPDDR5X memory and UFS 3.0 flash memory.

As for the differences between the two variants, one will have an integrated 5G modem while the other will not. For the upcoming high-end chipset, Qualcomm will reportedly solicit the help of Samsung. The mobile platform will be made on the 7nm EUV node. As you may probably already know, Qualcomm only designs its chips.

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That’s why other foundries manufacture SoCs for it. For the last few years, the company has been switching between TSMC and Samsung. The South Korean giant has also completed the development of the 5nm fabrication process. It uses extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) and the company claims that it will result in huge improvement over its 7nm process in areas such as performance and power.

The technology is now ready for sampling and it will increase performance by 10 percent or reduce power consumption by 20 percent when compared to 7LPP fabrication process. By the looks of it, TSMC made chips will edge out Samsung made ones in terms of performance.

Perhaps that’s why Qualcomm apparently chose the Taiwanese manufacturer over the South Korean giant.

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Per previous reports, the Taiwanese company might roll out its 5nm technology earlier than expected. Apparently, the volume production will begin in the first half of next year and the first batch of 5nm SoCs will arrive by the third quarter of 2020.

For a quick refresher, device fabrication is basically a process used to create the integrated circuits found inside a chipset. It is common to refer to the manufacturing process or the technology nodes by the size of the process’s gate length in nanometers. Basically, the higher the transistor density, the better.

By 2022, TSMC hopes to churn out 3nm chips, which will obviously offer better performance and superior battery life than today’s mobile platforms. Of course, that’s going to be a long wait and thus, for now, you should watch out for the Snapdragon 865 SoC.

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