We often associate AMD with TSMC, especially after GLOBALFOUNDRIES fails to get its own 7nm node, but this does not prevent Lisa Su’s company from exploring other partners to make its chips such as Samsung and the latest rumors are They talk that we could see a future Ryzen or a Radeon under Samsung’s 3nm node.
A few weeks ago, Samsung announced that it will start producing the first chips under its 3 nm manufacturing node in 2022, which will use Gate All-Array type transistors. However, with the enormous cost of developing a new manufacturing node it is extremely important to find partners who ensure both good sales volume and continuous capital to keep the foundries running continuously.
Although the South Korean multinational is a leader in the manufacture of semiconductor memories, NAND Flash and RAM, it is the third and even the fourth in contention as far as logic is concerned and its biggest milestone so far has been getting NVIDIA to manufacture its RTX 30 under its 8nm node. However, Jensen Huang’s company seems to have abandoned them to come back with TSMC for the RTX 40 with Lovelace architecture. Well, it seems that Samsung has found AMD as a new partner for its GAA3 node, which if confirmed could turn the entire industry upside down.
Samsung and AMD together at 3 nm?
The information that is circulating at the moment in the media of the Asian continent speaks of a change of heart on the part of the company led by Lisa Su and it seems that the first customer to use Samsung’s 3nm node will be AMD, which is something that did not enter the pools of industry analysts.
Let’s not forget that, when designing a new architecture with a new node, AMD is one of the few companies that has the ability to create custom hardware libraries. You cannot directly transfer a design intended for one manufacturing node to another unless it is a derivative one, much less from one company to another. So the CPUs, GPUs or APUs of Advanced Micro Devices that are manufactured under Samsung’s GAA3 node will not be in principle the same that we will see being produced in the TSMC foundries.
At the moment AMD has developed a version of its RDNA GPU architectures for Samsung’s Exynos SoCs, so the relationships between the two companies would not be new. In any case the use of two foundries at the same time would not be surprising, since they currently combine GLOBALFOUNDRIES chips with those of TSMC in some of their Ryzen, EPYC and Threadripper ranges.
What would be the reason for such an alliance?
Well the fact that TSMC gives priority of access to new manufacturing nodes to Apple. Let’s not forget that manufacturing nodes are usually released first with much smaller and low-power chips, which are usually APUs or SoCs for smartphones. Although if we look at the size of the CCD Chiplets of the different Zen architectures from their second generation we will see that they do not reach 100 mm2 as for its size.
So, in order to have an advantage over Intel, it seems that Lisa Su asked him for access before what was initially agreed to the TSMC node N3, the safest thing that to launch Zen 5 before and the foundry of the National China told him to the AMD directive that the wafers during the first months were exclusive to those of Tim Cook. In any case, AMD will not be the only one to use Samsung’s 3nm GAA node, as Qualcomm and Supermicro are expected to do so as well.