TSMC’s advanced chip manufacturing processes are currently in development. The 5nm manufacturing process is in mass production while TSMC 3nm process is targetting risk production. According to reports, after the second quarter mass production of the 5nm chip process technology, TSMC’s next process focus will be on the more advanced 3nm process. According to the company, it will be ahead of schedule when it enters mass production.
In its second-quarter earnings analyst conference, TSMC CEO, Wei Zhejia, once again talked about the 3nm process. He reiterates that the 3nm process is progressing well. The company plans to commence risk trial production in 2021 and mass production in the second half of 2022. However, looking at the time schedule of the risk mass production and mass production of TSMC’s 5nm process, the mass production of its 3nm process should be ahead of schedule.
According to Wei Zhejia, the R&D and design of TSMC’s 5nm process were ready in the third quarter of 2018. The risk trial production commenced in the first half of 2019. However, mass production only started in the second quarter of 2020. From this schedule, the risk trial production of the 5nm process started about half a year after completing the R&D design. The time between the risk trial production and mass production is about five quarters.
As of now, we do not know the exact time for TSMC 3nm risk trial production. According to Wei Zhejia, it will commence in 2021. There is no indication if it will start in the first half or the second half of the year.
If it starts in the first half of the year and the risk trial production is the first quarter, then it will be following the same schedule as the 5nm process. In terms of mass production, we expect the 3nm process to commence mass production in the second quarter of 2022. This is earlier than their current estimate of the second half of 2022.
However, TSMC has not yet disclosed whether the 3nm process R&D design has been completed. Wei Zhejia has only repeatedly stated that the R&D is progressing smoothly. If the R&D design can be completed in the third quarter, the risk trial production will also maintain the rhythm of the 5nm process, and it is very likely that it will eventually start mass production in the second quarter of 2022.