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Google to switch to 3nm TSMC process for Pixel 10's Tensor G5

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After using Samsung Foundry for four generations, Google might switch to TSMC for the production of its Tensor G5 next year. The company plans to use TSMC’s 3nm process node for the new Tensor that will power the Pixel 10 series in 2025. It has reportedly expanded its semiconductor R&D center in Taiwan and is actively hiring local engineers to work closely with the Taiwanese firm.

Pixel 10’s Tensor G5 to use TSMC’s 3nm process

Google started making custom Tensor chips for Pixel phones with the Pixel 6 series in 2021. The company collaborated with Samsung to produce the chip. The Korean firm helped in the development of the CPU and GPU, along with the production of the processor. Over the years, Google has taken a lot of the Tensor development work in-house but still uses Samsung’s foundry for production.

There have been rumors about Google switching to TSMC for the Tensor G4 this year, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. It is sticking with Samsung despite the disappointing performance of the Tensor G3. However, the company may not stick around for much longer. After all, TSMC’s process nodes are widely believed to be superior to Samsung’s in power management and thermals.

According to X tipster @Revegnus1, TSMC will produce Google’s Tensor G5 chip for the Pixel 10 series next year. It will be a 3nm SoC, a first for Google. Yes, despite Samsung, MediaTek, and Qualcomm all jumping to the 3nm process this year, the Pixel maker will ship its next-gen flagships with a 4nm chip. The Tensor G4 will use the Fan-out Wafer Level Packaging (FOWLP) method for improved power and heat management.

This isn’t the first time we have heard about Google potentially using TSMC’s 3nm process node for the Tensor G5. Rumors have been around since November last year. The 2025 chipset will reportedly employ the Taiwanese firm’s second-gen 3nm process, aka N3E. Apple’s newly launched M4 chip for the OLED iPad Pro 2024 is fabricated on the same TSMC process.

The Pixel 9 series will have to excel in areas other than the SoC

With all major chipmakers introducing their first 3nm SoCs this year, Google’s Tensor G4 will be a whole generation behind. More importantly, the Pixel 9 series will lag most competing Android flagships in terms of processor technology. The new Pixels will have to excel in other areas to appeal to the masses. One of those could be cameras, while Google could also turn a few heads with AI features. The Pixel 9 series arrives in the second half of 2024.

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