TSMC Working on Enhanced 3nm Technology, With Volume Production Expected in H2 2023
Despite the setbacks caused by the chip shortage, TSMC will reportedly continue mass producing wafers boasting a smaller lithography to push the boundaries of chip development. According to the latest info, the manufacturing giant is expected to start volume production of its enhanced 3nm node in the second half of 2023.
Enhanced 3nm Chips Will Be Called N3E, According to Fresh Report
A paywalled report published on DigiTimes not only talks about TSMC’s plans to mass produce 3nm chips but enhanced 3nm wafers dubbed N3E, though it is not confirmed if this will be the actual name. The enhanced 5nm process that was used to mass produce Apple’s A15 Bionic was dubbed N5P, so it will be interesting if TSMC sticks with this N3E or looks to call it something else.
Previously, TSMC was reported to have delayed 3nm chip production for 2022, meaning that Apple would not have access to the latest and greatest technology and would instead have to rely on the Taiwanese chipmaker’s 4nm technology. Fortunately, at least according to what the report says, TSMC is on track to commence volume production of 3nm chips in H2, 2022, suggesting that Apple’s A16 Bionic for the iPhone 14 lineup could be mass produced on this architecture without delay.
Apple is also said to have secured the initial 3nm chip orders from TSMC to gain a lead against the competition, so it would not be surprising for the California-based giant to pull the same move when acquiring shipments for the N3E node too. Unfortunately, there is no telling how severe the chip shortage will be two years from now, or how much of a premium Apple would have to pay to get such shipments from TSMC, which would be detrimental for the consumer since they would have to shell out more cash to get the latest iPhone.
Assuming the situation does not improve, both the 3nm and enhanced 3nm nodes could become expensive orders for Apple. Then again, Samsung could reduce the technological gap between its biggest chipmaking rival with its own 3nm technology, with mass production reported to start in H1, 2022. However, we do not know how superior Samsung’s chips will be when it gears up to take orders for various clients.
Of course, 2021 is yet to end, and with the chip shortage end nowhere in sight, several plan changes could be expected from TSMC and its enhanced 3nm mass production timeline, so we will keep you updated on the latest; stay tuned.
News Source: DigiTimes