TSMC has preponed the mass production of its 4nm node to late 2021. The 4nm process node is essentially a refresh of its 5nm EUV node with improved libraries, and an intermediate between the foundry’s next flagship process, namely the 3nm node. Initially, the 4nm node was expected to have its trial production in the last quarter of 2021, followed by mass production in early 2022. However, the yields have been so good that the risk production was advanced to the third quarter of 2021, followed by the mass production in the fourth quarter.
The 4nm node is primarily expected to be leveraged for the production of the Arm-based chips for the new Mac notebooks and desktops. The A15 SoC that will power the iPhone 13 is also expected to be fabbed on the 4nm node. The smartphones are slated for launch in the latter half of 2021. As per industry sources, the mass production of the SoCs is going to start by the end of May 2021.
As for the 5nm node, most of TSMC’s primary clients are going to make the transition starting from the second half of the year. The biggest names include AMD, Qualcomm, and MediaTek. The 7nm shares of the same chipmakers are also expected to grow significantly in the same time period, with AMD already confirmed to have its 7nm capacity nearly doubled by Q4.
Although many industry sources have cast doubt over the timeliness of the Taiwanese foundry’s 3nm process, the TSMC Chairman announced earlier this week that the process is advancing as planned and will undergo mass production in 2022. As per industry sources, although there have been delays in the production of the 3nm node, TSMC should catch up with Apple’s launch schedule and mass-production should start as originally planned in June 2022. TSMC’s annual revenue growth is expected to grow by more than 15% in 2021.