TSMC’s Advanced (3nm) Chip Production To Begin Next Month, Culling Delay Rumors – Report

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC) headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Image: Bloomberg

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The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will soon start to manufacture semiconductors with its advanced chipmaking technology later this year according to a fresh report. TSMC is currently aiming to build semiconductors on the 3-nanometer process technology, and an earlier report that surfaced last week suggested that the company had managed to secure important orders for its technology, an important step for a chipmaker looking to usher in new technologies. It is currently one of two companies that can build these chips, with the other being the Korean chaebol Samsung Electronics's chipmaking arm Samsung Foundry.

TSMC To Kick Off 2nm Volume Production Reports Taiwanese Media

Today's report comes courtesy of Business Korea, which in turn cites the Taiwanese publication Commercial Times as indicating that TSMC's 3nm volume production will start from September. This follows in line with estimates that have been provided by the Taiwanese chipmaker, with its chief executive officer Dr. C.C. Wei providing the important details at its earnings call for the third quarter of last year.

At the event, Dr. Wei outlined that TSMC would commence risk production in 2021 and then move forward with production in H2 2022. At the time Dr. Wei had not outlined whether the production would be volume or mass production, and the report quoted by Business Korea believes that it will be the former - which is an earlier step in the production run. The executive reiterated these statements during the earnings call for the succeeding quarter.

This falls in line with TSMC's latest comments on the matter, which came during the company's earnings report analyst call for its second quarter of 2022. At the event, Dr. Wei led his opening remarks with details of his company's latest technology and shared that "N3" - TSMC's official term for the 3nm technology families - "is on track for volume production in second half of this year with good yield".

TSMC's chief executive officer Dr. C.C. Wei. Dr. Wei ranks at number 26 in Fortune Magazine's list of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders. Image: TSMC

The Commercial Times also believes that TSMC's first customer for the 3nm products will be the Cupertino, California consumer electronics firm Apple, Inc. This is not surprising, as Apple has developed a strategically leveraged relationship with TSMC over the years owing to the crucial place of the chipmaker in its supply ecosystem, and it is widely believed that not only is Apple TSMC's largest customer but that the company also gets the first pick of chips freshly manufactured with TSMC's latest technologies.

TSMC's commanding place in the market and its successful execution of multiple technology upgrades also injected some controversy into the 3nm node earlier this year. News heated up when Samsung Foundry announced that it will kick off mass production for the node earlier than TSMC, which then led industry watchers to speculate on whether the Korean firm had managed to secure any 3nm orders.

Then, research firm TrendForce shook things up when it announced that TSMC's 3nm process might be delayed due to U.S. chip giant Intel Corporation tweaking the designs for its products. Intel is believed to have outsourced some of its products to TSMC as the former builds up its own manufacturing facilities and chipmakers require finalized designs months before they start running their manufacturing plants - with any delay in this area also set to affect the production timeline.

TSMC denied that its 3nm process was delayed, and another report from the Taiwanese press that surfaced last week claimed that large technology firms including AMD, Qualcomm and NVIDIA have placed 3nm orders with TSMC. This injected more certainty into the fab's latest technology, and today's report when viewed in line with the earlier one seems to suggest that all is well at the world's largest contract chip manufacturer.

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