[Rumor] This new rumor comes directly from appleinsider.com which has been quite an accurate source of leaks in the past. According to the guys over at appleinsider.com TSMC is in the process of accelerating its 16nm process in a bid to win the contract of manufacturing Apples A9 design.
TSMC to Start Volume Production of 16nm Node in Q1 2015
This report comes after rumors of Apple ditching TSMC in favor of going back to Samsung due to the maturity of Samsung’s & 14nm process. Of course if this does end up happening it’s going to leave a fairly large dent in TSMC’s bottom line especially after it won the valuable contract to make Apple’s 20nm chips..
TSMC has more than one 16nm process in the works, the standard 16 FinFET version and the 16 FinFET+ version. The report doesn’t specify which process specifically that TSMC is looking to bring earlier to market. My guess is their going to try to push both. What I find most interesting about this development is its implications on Nvidia’s & AMD’s next generation 16nm GPUs. If TSMC manages to bring its 16nm earlier to market this could mean a huge win for gamers especially after this stagnation in the GPU market. 28nm GPUs have been around & selling in the market for nearly 3 years now and customers are growing ever more thirsty for truly next generation products on a more advanced process node.
Even if TSMC does in fact prove to be successful in accelerating its 16nm process. The early manufacturing capacity could very well be completely swallowed by Apple wafer orders. Which could create a new and interesting dynamic where both or one of Nvidia or AMD ending up switching to a different FAB partner like Globalfoundries or Samsung. We already know that AMD has extended its contract with Globalfoundries to manufacture GPUs. So it could prove to be fairly simple for the company to switch its manufacturing completely over to GF.