There are various reasons being leveraged at this, none with substantial grounds other than “reported from industry sources”. NVIDIA looking for better yields is one of the appointed reasons, as is its history as a TSMC customer. NVIDIA shouldn’t have too high a cost porting its manufacturing to TSMC in terms of design changes to the silicon level so as to cater to different characteristics of TSMC’s 7 nm, because the company’s GA100 GPU (Ampere for the non-consumer market) is already manufactured at TSMC. The next part of this post is mere (relatively informed) speculation, so take that with a saltier disposition than what came before.
That NVIDIA is looking to tier its manufacturing process across high-end and the rest of its product stack (with 7 nm for high-end and 8 nm for the rest of it) would become a headache for themselves and for consumers, should NVIDIA just have two suppliers for the same graphics products. There would likely be need for some changes in the power delivery designs, there are a range of new quality assurance tests that have to be taken for the new silicon, and NVIDIA would set itself up for legal troubles should they just silently update the manufacturing process on high-end models – not only would early adopters be understandably miffed about their product having evolved over time, as there could be some claims regarding 8 nm-based models being bought after the 7 nm ones are launched. And if NVIDIA were to put a sticker on retail boxes updating the 8 nm to 7 nm, well, then any user could just decline to purchase any 8 nm cards, and only look for the 7 nm versions, which might leave NVIDIA with a real immovable supply problem.
No. If this report checks out, NVIDIA will likely launch the newly produced top-end Ampere cards (we’re thinking RTX 3090, RTX 3080 and RTX 3070) in 7 nm Super versions, taking a page from their RTX 20-series book. The introduction of a higher-performing product built in 7 nm within a whole new series would protect NVIDIA from legal troubles while allowing them to publicly announce the transition. This would keep early adopters “happy” in the respect that this is a whole new product launch – users would receive that much better than by feeling that they were beta testers for NVIDIA’s tango with Samsung, as reception for the 20-series Super cards shows. The usage of this new process would also allow NVIDIA to improve performance further over the original 30-series cards, due to lower leakage and higher potential operational frequencies – perhaps in addition to NVIDIA’s 20-series strategy of trickling down bigger GPU designs.