Samsung’s underwhelming production yield for RTX 30 series chips are visibly noticed as many buyers, retailers and AIC partners complain about the lack of stocks. This and possibly incoming competition may have convinced Nvidia to consider TSMC for 7nm Ampere for 2021. Samsung won the contract to manufacture 8nm Ampere chips but it fell short since day 1 release. Nvidia had a rough start with the RTX 30 series as bot scalpers were hoarding most the stock. Samsung’s inability to scale up didn’t help to compensate for this nuisance at the time, too.
The story with TSMC and Nvidia…and Samsung
Usually, TSMC makes most of Nvidia’s chips for its mid-range-to-high-end SKUs. It was natural to assume TSMC will make RTX 30 chips until Samsung was reported to be an option for 8nm Ampere cards. On the launch date, everybody knew RTX 30 series are made on Samsung 8nm process.
The reason for Nvidia’s Leap of Faith on 8nm Samsung over 7nm TSMC is unknown (apart from a generous OEM discount), but they missed the haystack. Nvidia reportedly already booked a large order with TSMC for 2021. Therefore, expecting a 7nm RTX GPUs is not really farfetched.
It is great to see Nvidia is allegedly shifting to a tried, tested and traditionally used chipmaker. But it is also bad to see Samsung’s inability to deliver make itself look like an alternative. TSMC makes chips for many companies including AMD but not limited to the PC platform. TSMC has a lot of orders from AMD for 7nm process. Not only it was manufacturing 7nm based AMD Ryzen 3000 series CPUs, but it also making 7nm Ryzen 5000 chips and the Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs. TSMC is also developing a 5nm and 3nm process. Even though seeing Taiwan based-manufacturer innovating and increasing manufacturing yield is impressive, having a second option is a safe bet. Innovation in process fabrication is only feasible when it receives orders in mass.
Promises, promises….until now?
As recent history as a witness, you know THOSE Radeon GPUs are not going to meet its promises when it hypes and makes big promises. Either the performance is underwhelming, or it consumes too much power for the performance- or it has technical issues and shortages. Some cards were silently killed- and some didn’t even come out. Remember Radeon VEGA 64 Nano? But the subtly promoted Radeon GPUs usually end up as decent options only in certain situations, deals and price ranges. This trick is used many times enough for enthusiasts and gamers to anticipate Radeon Technology Group’s another rickroll. This needs to be said because we all like to give a benefit of the doubt when there are changes made in its back-end. Hence- the Radeon RX 6000 series.
AMD is marketing Big Navi to be ‘the thing’ to compete with some RTX 30 graphics cards. AMD made similar promises in the past for equivalent GeForce SKUs. But Frank Azor assured this won’t happen again, enough to accept a 10-dollar bet!
I look forward to taking your $10 :)
— Frank Azor (@AzorFrank) September 24, 2020
Reportedly, this will perform close to one or two variants RTX 30 cards. It will also be its first DXR (DirectX Ray Tracing) enabled GPU lineup. It is not clear how many DXR enabled SKUs will be available. Just that Frank Azor is looking forward to collecting $10 for a bet made on Twitter. If true, Nvidia has an active competition with a low-yield disadvantage. In any case, 7nm Ampere cards will be nice to have.