TSMC to Start 3nm Chip Manufacturing Subsequent Month

TSMC will start mass producing chips utilizing its modern N3 (3nm-class) manufacturing course of this September, in line with a Commercial Times report that cites tools producers. The contract chipmaker will ship the primary merchandise made utilizing its N3 node to its prospects early subsequent yr. 

Historically, TSMC begins its high-volume manufacturing (HVM) of a brand new node someday within the March to Could timeframe to supply sufficient chips for Apple’s newest iPhones, which usually launch in September. However the improvement of TSMC’s N3 node took longer than ordinary, which is why Apple’s upcoming smartphone chips will use a special node. In distinction, the primary 3nm chips from TSMC will attain the HVM milestone solely in September, which is a bit later than what TSMC initially promised (a few months delay versus typical schedules). Nonetheless, the corporate will meet its purpose of beginning N3 manufacturing within the second half of the yr.

N3E vs N5 N3 vs N5
Velocity Enchancment @ Identical Energy +18% +10% ~ 15%
Energy Discount @ Identical Velocity -34% -25% ~ -30%
Logic Density 1.7x 1.6x
HVM Begin Q2/Q3 2023 H2 2022

When in comparison with the unique N5 manufacturing know-how, the preliminary N3 fabrication course of is projected to supply a ten% to fifteen% efficiency enchancment (on the similar energy and complexity), scale back energy consumption by 25% – 30% (on the similar pace and transistor depend), and enhance logic density by round 1.6 occasions.  

(Picture credit score: TSMC)

This unique N3 node has a slim course of window, which implies a lower-than-expected yield for some designs. TSMC is growing an N3E node with an improved course of window that may function a barely decrease transistor density. That know-how is projected to enter mass manufacturing a few yr after N3, however there are indications that N3E will attain HVM sooner slightly than later. Ultimately, TSMC will add N3P, N3S, and N3X nodes to its 3nm household. 

(Picture credit score: TSMC)

TSMC’s FinFlex tech is without doubt one of the key options of N3, enabling chip builders to combine and match completely different varieties of normal cells inside one block to precisely optimize efficiency, energy consumption, and space. FinFlex is especially helpful for advanced issues like CPU or GPU cores, so corporations like Apple, AMD, Intel, and Nvidia will have the ability to construct higher processors and graphics processors for PCs and high-performance computing functions.