Apple chip supplier TSMC says it will be prepared to move its 3nm chip process to volume production in the second half of this year. The company should be on track to supply the next-generation technology to Apple in 2023.
DigiTimes says its industry sources tell it that TSMC is expected to initially process 30,000-35,000 wafers manufactured using 3nm process technology monthly.
“We expect the ramp of N3 to be driven by both HPC [high performance computing] and smartphone applications,” said Wei during an April 14 earnings conference call. “We continue to see a high level of customer engagement at N3 and expect more new tape-outs for N3 for the first year as compared with N5 and N7.”
The report claims the process will first be used by Apple in iPads, although it doesn’t say which model iPad or when the new tablet would launch. The new report jibes with a July 2021 report from Nikkei Asia claimed Apple will launch an iPad this year featuring a processor based on TSMC’s 3nm process.
Apple is expected to release the majority of its devices with 3nm chips fabricated by TSMC in 2023, including Macs with M3 chips and iPhone 15 models with A17 chips.
TSMC says 3nm technology can increase processing performance by 10% to 15% compared to 5nm tech while reducing power consumption by 25% to 30%.
Some M3 chips are said to have up to four dies, which could potentially allow the creation of an up to 40-core CPU. In comparison, Apple’s M1 chip has an 8-core CPU, while M1 Pro and M1 Max chips boast 10-core CPUs.
TSMC said its move to N3E, an enhanced version of N3, to volume production in the second half of 2022 is on track.