Apple, TSMC On Track to Move 3nm Into Risk Production by the End of 2021


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A new report suggests TSMC’s 3nm method node is nonetheless on observe, with programs to shift into risk creation in 2021. Apple is said to have already locked in most of TSMC’s early 3nm potential.

Various web pages are repeating the plan that this represents an acceleration of TSMC’s previous roadmap. This is not correct. Data the firm offered at ISSCC in February 2021 aligns with the details offered at HotChips in 2020, specifically: 3nm is on-keep track of for threat output in 2021, with quantity manufacturing to observe in 2022. “Risk production” is when a foundry begins making hardware on a new node, but is continue to ironing out the kinks. Very low yields are envisioned. Quantity production is when the chip is ready to ship to customers en masse. There is usually a 6-12 thirty day period lag involving hazard and volume output relying on the particulars of the node and over-all foundry timelines.

Initial, here’s the slide TSMC showed back in August:

Now, here’s an up-to-date slide from ISSCC 2021 with information and facts on what type of advancements to anticipate from the 5nm –> 3nm node shrink.

From 7nm to 5nm, the estimated advancements to functionality and energy scaling fell, whilst the die density improvements remained regular. This is also projected to be the case for 5nm, other than the functionality gains will shrink. Energy consumption advancements, at least, will nudge upwards a little bit. Enormous density gains without equal electricity use improvements are not all that wonderful, but they do characterize the ongoing scaling of Moore’s law.

TSMC believes that product optimization and relocating ahead in the “More Than Moore” era involves the simultaneous leveraging of state-of-the-art 3D packaging systems, the intensive use of co-optimization procedures that take into consideration every facet of the SoC like its anticipated software workloads in the advancement process, and the traditional lithographic technological innovation enhancements that ended up historically accountable for shifting the needle with small aid wanted from any individual else.

Whilst TSMC and other brands are nevertheless holding a whole lot of discussion targeted on lithography, 3D packaging and interconnect are both regions we progressively hear mentioned when energy enhancements and efficiency gains are outlined. Count on to see these locations participate in a position in upcoming TSMC improvements as properly.

TSMC’s hazard output is explained to target 30,000 wafers per month, whilst quantity manufacturing is supposedly 105,000 per month. The capacity boost from just one to the other is only about three.5x, but hazard production wafers also have much reduce yields. The total distinction in hardware availability is not just in conditions of wafer starts but how a lot of of those people wafers produce superior die.

We had read rumors of 3nm challenges back in 2020, but it appears to be like as although the company is self-confident it solved them, if they ended up accurate to start out with. If TSMC goes into threat manufacturing with 3nm at the conclusion of 2021, we’d anticipate it to ship the node for income in September or October of next calendar year, when Apple launches the future iPhones.

Impression Credit score: Peellden, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.

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