TSMC will manufacture the Tensor G5

TSMC will manufacture the Tensor G5

All of Google’s custom Tensor processors have been developed in close collaboration with Samsung’s silicon division since the first generation chip back in 2021. As a result, while the arrangement has allowed Google to develop its application processors in far less time with many fewer engineers than would otherwise be required, it also limited Google to Samsung’s technologies.

while the Tensor chips have been mostly fine, there was one area in which they fell short, and that was thermals, and the efficiency of Samsung’s Foundry that has lately become no match for TSMC. However, this situation is likely to change very soon because late last year, we exclusively reported that the upcoming Pixel 9 Tensor G4 was going to be another Samsung chip and, while a rather small upgrade otherwise, it appears that it is having a terrific impact in this regard.

Yet there were leaks that the Tensor G5 would be made by TSMC, which would mark Google’s first chip not made with the help of Samsung. Thanks to some information we found in publicly available trade databases, we have been able to confirm the rumors while also providing a bit of extra context.

confirms TSMC is already building the Tensor G5

A tiny bit of additional context is required to understand our source. When companies export or import, they are required by the government to declare – among other things – specifically what they are trading.

You may have come across the same when using services for importing something from a foreign country — the customs agency in your country will ask you to complete a form that will declare the content and worth of the items you are importing so that you pay the proper amount of tax.

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Some countries provide these declarations to third parties since they are requested; as a consequence, these services offer a search engine on this information, and some offer it for free. Because of it, one can occasionally get data on upcoming devices, which has recently become useful when it comes to leaks, such as Qualcomm ones.

Above is a simple example of a manifest of shipping records of a Tensor G5 sample chip that is available in public databases.

On track for launch

First of all, how could we be sure that this is the chip that corresponds to the one described in the arm? It’s simple: “LGA” stands for the codename Tensor G5 as we already knew, “Laguna Beach”. Previously, Google used abbreviations in the first-generation Tensor known as “Whitechapel” by “WHI” and the Tensor G4 “Zuma Pro” by “ZPR.

As can be seen here, the declaration mentioned TSMC and InFO POP, a packaging solution that TSMC owns exclusively. It is already big to know that it is true based on the leaks—this declaration offers more elements that can be researched.

Google requires more time for its operation than any other competitor, therefore, it is quite reasonable to initiate manufacturing the first samples during such a period.

The chip revision is “A0,” the first possible silicon which may or may not be fully functional as it may have some bugs which will be fixed before the release of higher versions of A0, A1, etc. The abbreviation “OTP, V1” expanded as the one-time programmable data in the mentioned chip, version 1. Google can modify some of the chip parameters (it frequently has to do this for security reasons, claiming power, and locking down specific components) without altering the layout of the chip. This is because in this case, it has the first revision while comparing it to the final version of Tensor G3 which has OTP V5.

“NPI-OPEN” further confirms this is a very early sample of the chip: NPI is the acronym for New Product Introduction, which is the process of launching a new chip design into the market, while the manufacturing process is still being developed. The passed tests inform us that it has also been confirmed that the chip is at least somewhat functional a detailed test is an SLT that carries out tests on a final chip in a complete test silicon that seems to mimic the fundamental usage of a finished silicon.

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All this would make sense, given that the actual chip is still about 16 months away from a market release. As for starting this brand-new platform, Google needs more time than it is possible now, but to manufacture the first samples this early is logical.

The entry also states that the package-on-package RAM is 16GB and is offered by SEC (Samsung Electronics Co). This goes hand in hand with the spills that the Pixel 9 Pro brings 16GB of improved RAM which presumably will set up the Pixel 10.

The last thing that can be received from the entry itself is the fact that the exporter was the company Google LLC in Taiwan, while the importer was Tessolve Semiconductor from India. Tessolve is an independent company that offers semiconductor solutions it services such as verification and testing. Google probably relies on it to shift some of the load that was previously borne by Samsung.

Source

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