TSMC’s 5nm node is the most advanced process node in the industry. However, the Taiwanese foundry is showing no signs of slowing down. Competition is always around the corner in the semiconductor industry. Intel recently renamed its process nodes to match the transistor densities of rival foundries. The US chipmaker plans to retain “unquestioned leadership” by 2025, with the first Angstrom-grade chips planned for a 2024 launch. How well it manages to execute this roadmap remains to be seen.
TSMC isn’t sitting idle either. According to the latest reports, the foundry is planning the risk production of its 3nm (N3) node by the end of this year. Around 30,000 chips based on the new process will be produced on a monthly basis in the first phase. They’ll offer a power improvement of 25-30% at the same speed or a performance improvement of 10-15% at the same power compared to the 5nm (N5) node. The logic density is expected to increase by 1.7x compared to the latter.
The mass production of 3nm wafers is planned for the second half of 2022, with a production capacity of 55,000 pieces per month, with an increase to 100,000 pieces in 2023. According to Nikkei Asia, Intel has managed to reserve a massive capacity of 3nm wafers for its own use, overtaking even Apple. At the same time, NVIDIA and Qualcomm are also seeking their fair share of 3nm chips, but will likely have to wait alongside AMD.