TSMC has been the most crucial foundry partner of Nvidia for years. The flagship GPUs of the company were mainly from TSMC, although Nvidia has other foundry partners too. According to rumors and reports, it is going to be changed. DigiTimes reports that Samsung will fab the graphics processors under the new Ampere architecture rumored to be released next year. The GPUs will be fabbed with Samsungs new EUV 7nm process rather than TSMC’s 7nm process.
There can be many reasons for this move, but EEtimes reports that Samsung has aggressively undercut TSMC’s prices. By doing so, they have gained a powerful partner. It was initially expected that Nvidia would go to their old partner for their new architecture, but Samsung’s move has shifted it in their favor.
The other reason can be a shortage of supplies. We know that since the arrival of 7nm process, TSMC has been the go-to fabrication unit for many companies including Apple, Qualcomm, and AMD. With Nvidia into the mix, it will be challenging for the Taiwanese semiconductor giant to meet production demands. So, it is a sensible move from Nvidia, and it can be beneficial for TSMC as well since they can work on their current agreements efficiently.
Coming to Samsung that pushed TSMC out of Nvidia’s first choice. Samsung has been pouring loads of money in their GPU department recently. They have acquired the rights of AMD’s RDNA architecture to work on their own mobile GPUs. Though the deal with Nvidia is not as strategic as the deal with AMD, Samsung will be eager to get something out of Nvidia’s expertise in GPUs. We should not forget that Nvidia had already tested its luck in the mobile GPUs as well. The most prominent example here is their Tegra GPU in the Nintendo Switch.
Lastly, the deal is also favorable for Nvidia as it will be able to mass produce its GPUs without any hassle. Since Samsung’s foundry mainly deals with orders on a smaller scale, Nvidia will enjoy higher supplies. It is also rumored that Nvidia is working on its fabrication process. According to the current state of events, it can be safely said that their production node is not completed yet. More importantly, Nvidia would have to delay its next generation of Graphics cards if it decides to go with the in-house fabrication process. So, Samsung will produce the Ampere GPUs under its EUV 7nm process.