A report from Gizmo China has indicated that Samsung is finding it difficult to improve 5nm chip yields. Attempts to catch up TSMC, which is the world's largest chipmaker, have thus far proved to be largely unsuccessful it seems.
TSMC has already reportedly begun work on its 4nm chip process. It is likely to begin mass production in 2023 so the process could be quite long. However, in Q2 of 2020 Samsung posed very little threat meaning that there is a long way to go for the company to catch up.
Samsung continues to lag behind in 5nm chip yields
TSMC is successfully mass producing 5nm chips for various companies, including Apple with its A14 chips. This is putting the pressure on Samsung to respond and keep the pace.
However, reports suggest that the company's process is producing relatively low yields. The problem seems to be in its 5nm EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) process which was first announced in 2019. It seems that the Coronavirus pandemic has bad it difficult to boost yields amongst the disruption.
Samsung acquires orders from Qualcomm
There is some good news for Samsung as they have got order from Qualcomm for its Snapdragon 875G and Snapdragon 735G chips.
However, due to these recent difficulties, the planned 2021 launch of the chips may be in some trouble. Samsung had announced that it would begin mass production of 5nm chips at the end of Q2 2020.
It is difficult to say whether this has happened yet. Even with the difficulties faced, the company may be able to produce at high quantities.
Recent news had indicated that the Galaxy Note 20 series would feature the first 5nm chips. However, after what we now know about Samsung's trouble mass-producing these trips this may be the reason behind the cancellation of the device.
Samsung does not appear to be resting on its laurels when it comes to this industry though. Due to the troubles faced, Samsung may skip the 4nm all together in order to arrive at 3nm chips before TSMC. During Q2 TSMC took over 50% of the market share whilst Samsung was unable to reach 20%.
So there is a big gap to make up for Samsung and struggling to mass-produce 5nm chips is a big blow. However, it does not seem that the company is ready to give up just yet and the next 18 months or so could be key to the development of this industry.