Taiwan's leading tech magazine has just broken a story that will be sure to make investors of AMD very happy. TSMC is expecting 7nm orders from AMD to double in 2H 2020 as Apple transitions from 7nm to 5nm, leaving behind a vacuum that AMD is going to be filling in. TSMC expects AMD to become the largest customer for 7nm processors starting 2H 2020 and this means that AMD's sales are going to go through the roof starting in 2H 2020.
TSMC 7nm capacity fully booked till 2H 2020, AMD set to become the largest customer for 7nm
This is around the same time frame that Intel will be rolling out its first 10nm chips (if all goes according to plan). Unfortunately, however, it seems that TSMC capacity for 7nm is currently fully booked and we may not expect AMD to increase its supply of 7nm parts before Apple moves on. Before I go any further, here is a translation of the relevant portions by @chiakokhua reproduced with permission:
TSMC's 7nm production capacity is fully booked. Relief may only come when Apple migrates to 5nm in 2H'2020. TSMC's 7nm capacity will increase to 140,000 wpm in 2H'2020. By order proportion, the ranking of customers using 7nm will be re-shuffled. AMD's orders are set to double, replacing Apple as the largest customer [for 7nm]. Huawei's HiSilicon and Qualcomm are similar by order proportion.
TSMC's 7nm production capacity continues to rise. The industry expects monthly capacity to reach 110,000 wafers in 1H'2020. The top 5 customers by order proportion are: Apple, HiSilicon, Qualcomm, AMD, and Mediatek. Except for Mediatek, order share is split at roughly 20% each, depending on seasonality. Mediatek's share is around 13%.
However, with 7nm capacity rising to 140,000 wpm in 2H'2020, and the largest customer Apple migrating to 5nm with the A14 processor, customer ranking by 7nm orders will be re-shuffled. In one fell swoop, AMD booked capacity for 30,000 wafers, accounting for 21% of total capacity. HiSilicon and Qualcomm's orders are similar, at 17-18%. Mediatek's share also rose to 14%.
At present, Samsung's 7nm production capacity is roughly 150,000 wpm. It is also actively increasing 7nm capacity. According to industry rumors, Samsung plans to quadruple capacity in 2020. Nvidia and Qualcomm's next-generation products may be produced using Samsung's 7nm EUV process, but details remain to be seen.
The article contains some truly great nuggets of information. First of all, we now know that Apple intends to move to 5nm in 2H 2020, freeing up space for companies like AMD. Secondly, TSMC is also adding further capacity to its facilities so AMD will not only be getting the Apple leftovers but even more wafers as well. Right now, HiSilicon and Qualcomm are both above AMD, but the company is set to become TSMC's largest 7nm customer by 2H 2020, dethroning Qualcomm and HiSilicon. The article further mentions that AMD has booked an order of 30,000 wafers in one single "swoop" that accounts for 21% of the total capacity at TSMC.
At the same time, Samsung is preparing to ramp its 7nm production up from 150,000. NVIDIA and Qualcomm's next-generation products are probably going to be based on Samsung's 7nm EUV process which will be a true example of next-generation lithography and make for some super fine etches (read: high yields and clock speeds). NVIDIA has been pretty much mum about its plans to transition to the 7nm process but we expect that to happen with its Ampere architecture that is slated to be teased/announced early next year according to the grapevine.
While Intel has yet to get its 10nm desktop processors out the door, it looks like 2020 will be a year that will bring a ton of sales for its 7nm-based processors and its expecting demand to go up as it claws market share from Intel.