SEC filing says Samsung is fabbing chips for Nvidia

Last month, Meritz Securities analyst Park Yu-ak claimed that Samsung would be manufacturing chips for Nvidia. He didn't provide any evidence to support that claim, but some has now surfaced in an official filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The annual report for Nvidia's 2014 fiscal year contains the following statement about chip manufacturing:

We do not manufacture the silicon wafers used for our GPUs and Tegra processors and do not own or operate a wafer fabrication facility. Instead, we are dependent on industry-leading foundries, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., to manufacture our semiconductor wafers using their fabrication equipment and techniques.

The statement seems definitive, though it doesn't detail which Nvidia chips come from Samsung's fabs or what process is used to manufacture them. Previous reports suggested Samsung would produce application processors, like Nvidia's Tegra SoC, using its 14-nm process. Those stories also claimed that AMD, Apple, and Qualcomm would have chips fabbed on the same node.

The Tegra X1 SoC revealed at CES is built on a 20-nm process, and we haven't heard anything about that chip receiving the 14-nm treatment. The finer process could be used for a Denver-based variant of the X1 or something else entirely. Thanks to TR regular SH SOTN for the tip.

Comments closed
    • wothlessanimal
    • 8 years ago
    • Visigoth
    • 8 years ago

    Agreed. Let’s see what another foundry can do. TSMC has had enough time now to make a difference, and they didn’t. It’s time for another company to take the lead.

    • Forge
    • 8 years ago

    It’s one hell of a conversation opener.

    Nv: So hey, while we’re all here at court, let’s do lunch! I’m buying!

    Sam: Sure, why not, I can expense it too!

    • PC Perv
    • 8 years ago

    TechReport’s crowd is a strange bunch, including the editors. They just speak whatever is in their mind with no reasons or logis. And if someone question them, hey, they can toss the ban hammers at will.

    Too bad this place has come to this. It was one of my favorite site growing up.

    Oh, OP. The tactic was NV’s. NV wanted access to Samsung’s process. How that will pan out Is anyone’s guess at this point .

    • jihadjoe
    • 8 years ago

    You brilliant man!

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    Good smoke?

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    It’s called Business as Usual. Can’t let these emotions ruin a good opportunity to make money.

    • Klimax
    • 8 years ago

    I suspect bigger problem is need to redo chip, because Intel’s libraries and process itself are quite bit different. (IIRC things like rules for layout)

    • the
    • 8 years ago

    You mean like Intel currently is doing? You can buy FPGAs with an ARM core that have been manufactured by Intel.

    The main reason that Intel’s foundry business isn’t taking off is that reportedly Intel charges a lot for their services. That and Intel is more than willing to turn down money if it comes for their direct competitors.

    That pretty much limits clients to various IO (Cisco), and niche embedded components. However, these markets are very price sensitive and couldn’t make the profits they want using Intel’s fabs.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 8 years ago

    I tweaked it slightly, it sounds better now.

    • entropy13
    • 8 years ago

    Exynos with Nvidia graphics for the Galaxy Note 5 and the new Galaxy Tabs…the mobile tech world will probably explode from that. LOL

    • Phartindust
    • 8 years ago

    Nice 🙂

    • Phartindust
    • 8 years ago

    Yeah that’s an interesting dynamic huh? Sounds like Samsung is walking a fine line, licensing 14nm to Glofo, but then outright producing chips for Nvidia. They are two different things though. So not much of an argument can be made, as long as both agreements are met.

    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    The 6th bottle of IPA really got to you, eh?

    • NTMBK
    • 8 years ago

    wat

    • Airmantharp
    • 8 years ago

    GPUs please.

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 8 years ago

    Meanwhile, at GlobalFoundries:

    “So AMD… We have some bad news…”

    • MadManOriginal
    • 8 years ago

    u wot m8?

    • MadManOriginal
    • 8 years ago

    The needs of the money outweigh the needs of the sue.

    Or the Huang.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 8 years ago

    What’s a lawsuit amongst friends? 😉

    • chuckula
    • 8 years ago

    Tegra is only in tangential competition with Samsung anyway in a relatively small portion of the tablet market. Tegra moving forward is more about cars & embedded anyway.

    Nvidia has flat-out abandoned smartphone chips and that’s what Samsung actually cares about.

    • tviceman
    • 8 years ago

    Nvidia: We’ll provide you with $1.5 billion dollars in fab business if you license Maxwell or Pascal architecture to use in your future SoC’s. The lawsuit will be dropped.

    Samsung: What about Tegra?

    Nvidia: What about it?

    Samsung: Good point. Sold.

    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]I'm much more inclined to trust an institution that's primarily worried about making money, and thus, to some extent, winning and keeping customers, than one that's in the business of whipping up and exploiting people's ephemeral and counterproductive emotions.[/quote<] The bitter truth is that in so many cases "whipping up and exploiting people's ephemeral and counterproductive emotions" is an effective way to make money

    • WillBach
    • 8 years ago

    It depends on *exactly* what process the customer needs. Intel is really good, the best, at fabbing medium to high frequency server/desktop and medium frequency laptop CPUs. Over the past few years they’ve extended their expertise into low frequency laptop CPUs, a little better in the low end of the power curve every generation, but they still lag behind when it comes to phone and tablet SoCs. All of those have very different transitor needs. SoCs even have different packaging needs and for non-intel customers there are different price/density needs. Intel has chased maximum density at expense of cost per area for years but most mobile customers are more area flexible – you can fit another mm squared into a phone – than cost flexible.

    • carreragt
    • 8 years ago

    ^ This.

    • carreragt
    • 8 years ago

    So a prerequisite for an agreement to fab chips with Samsung is a lawsuit against them or is it vice versa.

    • Prestige Worldwide
    • 8 years ago

    Because Apple bought up most of TSMC’s production capacity.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    WHAT

    • Stochastic
    • 8 years ago

    Samsung: Because it’s 2015 and you’re still manufacturing at 28 and 20 nm.

    • Platedslicer
    • 8 years ago

    Why is it a “bitter” truth?

    I’m much more inclined to trust an institution that’s primarily worried about making money, and thus, to some extent, winning and keeping customers, than one that’s in the business of whipping up and exploiting people’s ephemeral and counterproductive emotions.

    Edit: see Jobs and his wish for “thermonuclear war” with Google. One powerful man’s thick-headed vendetta was prevented from causing major harm, partially because the sensible, profit-seeking part of Apple saw that it wasn’t going to help the bottom line.

    If only politicians had that kind of common-sense failsafe.

    • wothlessanimal
    • 8 years ago
    • chuckula
    • 8 years ago

    Compared to the Apple-Wars that little spat with Nvidia is trivial…. and Samsung has been happy to get in on fabbing Apple chips as of late.

    If anything, Nvidia should sue Samsung again so they can get their whole product line into Samsung fabs!

    • Vhalidictes
    • 8 years ago

    I think their firsts customer would be AMD. Not for graphics, more for CPUs.

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    any easy way to get them back when something went mysteriously wrong with production.

    • jihadjoe
    • 8 years ago

    It is only logical.

    • tks
    • 8 years ago
    • anotherengineer
    • 8 years ago

    If Intel opened it’s doors to fab for others, I wonder how many would jump ship from Samsung?

    • the
    • 8 years ago

    It is indeed kinda weird but no different than the spat Apple and Samsung had a few years back.

    Of note, apparently Samsung Semiconductor is loved by everyone, even those who despise the greater Samsung company.

    • anotherengineer
    • 8 years ago

    Samsung why you stealing all our customers?!?!

    *TSMC

    • Jigar
    • 8 years ago

    Weird tactic Samsung, you get sued and then get business from the same entity and fight that lawsuit…

    • NTMBK
    • 8 years ago

    Bet it’s Tegra.

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