According to recent reports cited by Taiwanese media outlets, chipmaker TSMC is planning to start producing of its first 5nm chipsets in 2019, and by 2020 the company intends on manufacturing its first 3nm solution. By the end of the month the tech giant will reportedly start building a new factory in the Southern Taiwan Science Park which will be dedicated to 5nm chipset production, and in the meantime, the company is preparing its 7nm chipset solution to be ready for mass production by the fourth quarter of 2018.
Most flagship smartphones today rely on mobile chipsets based on the 14nm or 10nm semiconductor manufacturing process, but it appears that TSMC may become the first mobile chipmaker to be able and produce silicon based on 7nm technology. Previous reports suggest that one of TSMC's clients will be MediaTek who will manufacture its Helio P40 and P70 solutions on TSMC's 7nm fabrication node. But according to recent news, TSMC will be the only chipset manufacturer able to produce 7nm processors in a timely manner and as a result, it will also secure clients such as Qualcomm for the production of the Snapdragon 855, as well as Apple for the A12 chip. This suggests that Samsung will lose two of its largest clients to TSMC by the end of the year, as the Korean tech giant's foundries employ 10nm manufacturing technology at its best. Its Exynos 9810 SoC expected to power flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S9 is based on 10nm LPP technology, however, it's interesting to note that in mid-2017 Samsung revealed that its chip factory located in Texas will be capable of producing silicon based on 4nm technology by 2020, so the tech giant is still expected to counteract TSMC's advancements within the next couple of years.
But as TSMC could secure every customer wanting to employ its 7nm manufacturing process, this may further depart the giant from its competitors, allowing it to start the pilot production of its first 5nm chipsets in the first quarter of 2019, before readying the technology for mass production in 2020. Later the same year, once TSMC will have a grasp on mass manufacturing 5nm-based solutions, the company will reportedly begin a new trial period for 3nm chipsets.