3nm Chips for Smartphones and HPCs Coming This Yr

Whereas TSMC formally began mass manufacturing of chips on its N3 (3nm-class) course of know-how late final yr, the corporate is ready to lastly ship the primary income wafers within the present quarter. Throughout the latest earnings name with analysts and buyers, the corporate stated that demand for 3 nm merchandise was regular, and that quite a few designs for smartphones and high-performance purposes are incoming later this yr. Moreover, N3E manufacturing node is on monitor for high-volume manufacturing later this yr.

“We’re seeing strong demand for N3 and we anticipate a robust ramp of N3 within the second half of this yr, supported by each HPC and smartphone purposes,” said C.C. Wei, chief govt officer of TSMC, through the firm’s earnings. Name with monetary analysts and buyers.

Beforehand the corporate by no means commented on purposes that use its preliminary N3 fabrication course of, however for now it truly disclosed that gadgets which can be in mass manufacturing are designed for smartphones in addition to HPC purposes, which is a obscure time period which TSMC makes use of to explain every thing from handheld sport consoles all the way in which to heavy-duty smartphone SoCs. 

For buyer privateness causes, TSMC doesn’t disclose which clients are utilizing N3. Although traditionally, Apple has been TSMC’s alpha consumer for its modern course of applied sciences, so that they’re the almost certainly candidate to be the largest shopper of TSMC’s N3 output. 

TSMC’s baseline N3 node (aka N3B) is an costly know-how to make use of. It options as much as 25 EUV layers (in response to China Renaissance and SemiAnalysis) with TSMC utilizing EUV double-patterning on a few of them to make for larger logic and SRAM transistor density than N5. EUV steps are costly on the whole, and EUV double patterning drives these prices up additional, which is why this fabrication course of is just anticipated for use by a handful of shoppers who should not as involved concerning the excessive expenditure required. 

For many who are extra price delicate, there’s N3E, which might ‘solely’ use as much as 19 EUV layers and doesn’t use EUV double patterning. Excellent news is that TSMC expects to start mass manufacturing on this node to This fall 2023.

N3E has handed qualification and achieved efficiency and yield goal and can begin quantity manufacturing within the fourth quarter of this yr,” stated Wei.

Supply: TSMC

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