TSMC mass-produced the 7nm process two years ago, and this year it will mass-produce the 5nm process. Huawei and Apple have already pre-ordered most of the 5nm production capacity. Now the 3nm process is also on its schedule. According to the company, the risk assessment will take place this year. As for the mass-production, it is scheduled for the second half of 2021.
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In addition, TSMC also revealed the technical indicators of the 3nm process. Compared with this year’s 5nm process, the transistor density of the 3nm process is increased by 15%. Furthermore, the performance increased by 10-15%, while the energy efficiency increased by 20-25%.
In previous reports, there were rumors that TSMC will abandon the FinFET transistor process at the 3nm node and turn to GAA surround gate transistors. However, recent reports shows that TSMC successfully developed the 2nm process using GAA transistor technology. This means that TSMC’s 3nm node will also use the traditional FinFET process.
According to media reports, TSMC will launch Apple A16 chips for iPhone and iPad as scheduled. The chip will use TSMC’s 3nm process and will be listed in 2022.
TSMC’s first 5nm chip for Qualcomm will be the Snapdragon 875 SoC. This processor is already in mass production. The SoC is said to have a breakthrough in cores with a 1+3+4 combo where the single-core will be ARM’s Super-core Cortex X1 giving a boost of 30% over the A77.
TSMC’s rival, Samsung on the other hand, has announced that it will also use the GAA-FET and skip the 4nm and develop the 3nm process in a bid to keep up with TSMC. That being said, TSMC’s 2nm advancement is definitely not good news for Samsung who is already struggling to achieve a 3nm process.
All of these Xnm nomenclatures are meaningless between different fabs. TSMC’s 5nm != Samsung’s 5nm != Intel’s 5nm.