It’s no secret that TSMC maintains a preferential relationship with Apple. The Cupertino-based iPhone maker is TSMC’s largest customer, after all. But some of its other customers don’t seem to be very happy about it. A new report suggests that AMD is looking to switch to Samsung for its 3nm products due to the Taiwanese chipmaker’s priority treatment of Apple.
Many big chipmakers, including Apple, AMD, and Qualcomm, have a fabless model. They design their own chips but don’t have manufacturing facilities. They source out the production to the likes of TSMC and Samsung, the two largest contract chip manufacturing companies in the world. The former occupies a lion’s share in this market. It manufactures chips for all three aforementioned companies, though Qualcomm also sources out some products to Samsung.
However, amid an unprecedented global semiconductor chip shortage, the Taiwanese giant is reportedly reserving more and more wafers for its largest customer, i.e. Apple. As such, AMD is finding it difficult to secure enough wafers from the company for its next-gen products. Displeased by TSMC’s unequal treatment of its customers, AMD is now reportedly planning to shift to Samsung. It feels compelled to make this shift, the report suggests.
AMD is already working with Samsung on mobile GPUs. The two companies announced the partnership in 2019. Samsung’s upcoming flagship Exynos processor will employ AMD’s Radeon graphics technology.
Qualcomm isn’t happy with TSMC either
AMD isn’t the only one unhappy with TSMC’s preferential treatment of Apple though. Qualcomm is also said to be in the process of determining whether the Taiwanese company can supply its requirement. If it can’t, Qualcomm may shift to Samsung, provided the latter can supply more chips than TSMC. Some reports also suggest the American chip giant may move to Intel for its 3nm products.
Needless to say, these are unconfirmed reports as yet. TSMC could still keep hold of Qualcomm and AMD if it manages to secure enough wafers to supply all its customers adequately. But if it couldn’t, then things could play nicely for Samsung. The Korean company may close down the gap on TSMC in the contract chip manufacturing business. Both companies are expected to begin mass production of 3nm chips next year. So there’s some time to go before we know for sure.
Meanwhile, products based on their respective 4nm technologies are now starting to come out. MediaTek recently unveiled Dimensity 9000 based on TSMC’s 4nm process node. Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen1 is expected to employ Samsung’s 4nm technology.