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Pixel 9’s Tensor G4 will be a Samsung-made 4nm chip

Google‘s Tensor processors for Pixel smartphones will be manufactured by Samsung Foundry for at least one more year. The Tensor G4, which will power the Pixel 9 series in 2024, will use the Korean firm’s 4LPP+ 4nm process, the same process as the Exynos 2400. The Pixel maker may switch to TSMC with the “fully-custom” Tensor G5 in 2025.

According to noted tipster Revegnus, aka @Tech_Reve, the Tensor G4 will feature ARM’s latest CPU cores: the Cortex-X4 prime core, Cortex-A720 mid-core, and Cortex-A520 efficiency core. The clock speeds and CPU arrangement are not known. Google will pair the CPU with ARM’s flagship Immortalis-G715. The tipster further confirms that Samsung will manufacture the chip using its 4LPP+ process. The long-awaited switch to TSMC has been pushed back to 2025.

Google will stick to Samsung Foundry for manufacturing the Tensor G4

Google has been using custom Tensor processors in Pixel phones since the Pixel 6 in 2021. However, these chips aren’t completely custom-made by the company. They are mostly rebadged Samsung Exynos SoCs optimized for the Pixel lineup, with some minor touches from Google. This means the recent Pixels have the same performance, power, and thermal issues that Exynos-powered Galaxy flagships have had for years.

Unsurprisingly, Pixel users wanted Google to change that. The change can only happen if TSMC manufactures the Tensor processors or if Samsung drastically improves its process. While the Korean firm does seem to have improved its advanced chip fabrication technologies, Google still planned to switch to TSMC for the manufacturing of Tensor G4 and forthcoming Tensor chips, at least for the foreseeable future.

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However, earlier this year, a rumor surfaced that Google might stick to Samsung due to the high prices of TSMC. Tipster Revegnus has now revealed that the Taiwanese firm didn’t agree to manufacture the Tensor G4 due to low volume. Since it primarily manufactures chips for Apple and MediaTek, TSMC’s capacity is occupied almost all the time. A low-volume order from Google won’t be feasible for it without increasing prices.

These differences made Google use Samsung Foundry for the Tensor G4. Starting in 2025, the company plans to completely ditch the Korean firm and make fully custom Tensor processors and have TSMC manufacture them. It likely expects Pixel sales to go up in the coming years, leading to a surge in demand for Tensor chips. Or else, Google might run into a similar problem with TSMC.

The Tensor G3-powered Pixel 8 series debuts on October 4.

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