TSMC has announced a performance-focused upgrade of its 5nm node called N4P, and it will serve as the third major upgrade to the manufacturer’s silicon family on the same lithography. The Taiwanese giant promises several improvements over 5nm, so let us discuss those in length here.
TSMC’s N4P Will Also Provide a 6 Percent Performance Boost Over N4
Compared to the original 5nm technology, which is also known as N5, TSMC says that N4P will offer an 11 percent performance boost while delivering a 6 percent performance increase over N4, which is the enhanced variant of the 5nm architecture. This chipmaker also states that when it comes to power efficiency, N4P offers a 22 percent improvement, as well as a 6 percent increase in transistor density.
One major reason TSMC introduced N4P technology is to increase wafer production. The company states that this node reduces process complexity and improves wafer cycle time, resulting in a cheaper manufacturing process. With the ongoing chip shortage, this will be viewed as excellent news for TSMC’s partners, such as Apple, because previous reports have stated that the California-based giant is not immune to these shortages. Other chipset makers like Qualcomm are said to have allied with Samsung due to the current situation.
Kevin Zhang, senior VP of business development at TSMC, said the following regarding the latest announcement.
“With N4P, TSMC strengthens our portfolio of advanced logic semiconductor technologies, each with its unique blend of performance, power efficiency and cost. N4P was optimized to provide a further enhanced advanced technology platform for both HPC and mobile applications. Between all the variants of N5, N4 and N3 technologies, our customers will have the ultimate flexibility and unmatched choice of the best mix of attributes for their products.”
TSMC is expected to release the first tape-outs on N4P by the second half of 2022. Earlier, the manufacturer was said to mass produce 3nm chips for Apple in H2, 2022, but after a while, we reported that this node might have to be delayed. Instead, Apple would have to rely on the 4nm architecture, which the company is said to have secured early shipments from TSMC to gain an edge against the competition.
Unfortunately, from the looks of this announcement, Apple’s A16 Bionic might be mass produced on the N4P node, not 4nm. Qualcomm, who was previously rumored to switch to TSMC for booking of Snapdragon 898 Plus orders on the 4nm technology, might have no choice but to stick with the same route. Regardless, N4P still provides a decent improvement over N5, but how well will those improvements carry forward when it comes to real-world performance? It looks like we will find out in the coming months.
News Source: DigiTimes