TSMC’s manufacturing forecast
After a senior vice president of TSMC emphasized in August that they would continue to work hard on ever smaller structure widths, everything seems to be going according to plan. The switch to 4 nm is an achievable goal in the industry, but the chip specialist is not satisfied with that. If the first wafers are produced in the 3 nm process in the second half of 2020 and the production proves to be reliable, Apple could fall back on it from the A17 chip.
Performance and energy requirements
Once again, the advantages are better performance and less energy consumption. According to estimates by TSMC, the efficiency of a 3 nm chip improves by a factor of 1.6 compared to the 7 nm series (e.g. A12 and A13). The performance increases by around 25 to 35 percent. If, on the other hand, you compare 5 nm and 3 nm directly with each other, the expected performance increase is around 10 to 15 percent.
Samsung with similar goals
In addition to TSMC, Samsung also wants to manufacture 3-nm chips from 2022. This statement comes from a corporate event at which Samsung announced goals for the next three years. The switch to 5 nm has long since started, and products with a structure width of 4 nm are also planned. In terms of numbers, however, TSMC is ahead – and many market experts assume that TSCM is also currently ahead in terms of technology. However, should TSMC run into similar difficulties as Intel at some point and face manufacturing problems, it is probably reassuring for Apple to know that it can rely on Samsung’s expertise if necessary.