TSMC Starts Filling up 3nm Orders as Samsung Still Relies on 8nm Demand

TSMC has announced a mass production target for its upcoming 3nm node. The first wave of 3nm chips will feature a capacity of 55,000 units, most of which will go to Apple in the second half of 2022. The 3nm capacity is slated to ramp up to 100,000 units per month by 2023. TSMC is preparing a total of four waves including the first set of wafers reserved for Apple.

The second, third, and fourth waves of the 3nm node will be reserved by Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx, NVIDIA, AMD, etc. As far as the 2nm process is concerned, it’s currently being built in collaboration with Apple to give the iPhone exclusive rights to the first batch of chips.

TSMC’s August revenue was an all-time, with a very stable 2020 so far. The revenue for the first 8 months was 30% higher YoY. Overall, the foundry expects a yearly increase of 20% in its annual revenue, with a slight drop in the last quarter of this year. If TSMC’s roadmap progresses as planned, it will maintain its year-on-year growth with an increase of 20-30% annually.

At present, the foundry’s 7nm monthly production is pegged at 130K units, with a ramp-up to 140K by the end of 2020 to serve newer products such as AMD’s Zen 3, RDNA 2, and semi-custom chips including the next-gen consoles.

The first wave of mass production for the 5nm EUV chips is going at an even better rate compared to that of the 7nm node. The production in the second quarter of 2020 has reached 50K units per month with a target of 105K in early 2021. The 7nm and 5nm capacity is supposedly fully loaded till the end of 2021, with the 3nm process rapidly being ramped up.

Samsung, on the other hand, primarily relies on older nodes such as its 10nm and 8nm processes. The latter is being used by NVIDIA for its newly launched RTX 30 series Ampere graphics cards. The Qualcomm SD 875 and X60 were expected to be produced using Samsung’s 5nm process, but for some reason, the mass production has been delayed to the end of 2021. Furthermore, the SD 885 will be fabbed using TSMC’s 5nm process, rather than Samsung’s. This indicates that most clients still don’t have sufficient faith in Samsung’s 7nm and 5nm node, either due to production issues or performance.



Computer hardware enthusiast, PC gamer, and almost an engineer. Former co-founder of Techquila (2017-2019), a fairly successful tech outlet. Been working on Hardware Times since 2019, an outlet dedicated to computer hardware and its applications.
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