Samsung Foundry, based in South Korea, has announced that it will be responsible for manufacturing future chips for AMD and Tesla. This announcement came during an investor forum where Samsung shared that its foundry division is on its way to becoming a strong competitor in the semiconductor industry. At present, AMD and Tesla are the company’s only significant customers, especially after their collaboration with NVIDIA ended poorly, resulting in the world’s largest GPU manufacturer moving all graphics production to TSMC.
Large-scale data center operators (hyper-scalers), OEM car manufacturers, as well as Tesla and other clients, have sought chips designed by Samsung. In response to inquiries about why customers choose them, Jeong Hai-Lin, President of Samsung, said: “Because Samsung has three things.”
Their mission is to help semiconductors, including foundries and memories, bring imagination to life. Some clients plan to sell the 4-nanometer AI accelerator Samsung is developing, and the number one electric vehicle company in the automotive sector is moving to 5-nanometer chips. They are also developing a fully autonomous chiplet version.
Samsung Foundry has offered AMD and Tesla 5 and 4 nm chips, with competitive pricing and availability being the key factors. Apple has exclusive production of TSMC’s 3 nm chips; as production increases, the new generation of NVIDIA GPU, MediaTek chips, and even Intel will be looking to use this technology.
This means AMD may have to fight for its share, resulting in production constraints and high prices. One strategy is to diversify, using Samsung for other purposes, theoretically focusing on more economical products. According to leaks, AMD’s future CPUs and APUs will incorporate a hybrid configuration of TSMC’s 3 nm and Samsung’s 4 nm for I/O.
Thus, AMD and Tesla’s only option may be to produce their future chips at Samsung Foundry’s 4 nm. While these chips may not be as good as TSMC’s 3 nm, they will be more affordable and available in bulk. Strategically, this allows them to produce all the hardware they need at a more competitive price than their rivals, potentially offsetting any shortcomings of Samsung’s 4 nm compared to TSMC’s 3 nm. If the 4 nm collaboration works, it is reasonable to expect the partnership to expand to 3 nm.
This year, Samsung Electronics’ sales are estimated to be 54% in mobile, 19% for high-performance computing, and 11% for automotive. For AMD, this could be an opportunity to take advantage of these chips in the lucrative artificial intelligence market.