Cryptocurrency mining and related technologies boosted the sales of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) this month, DigiTimes reports, citing industry watchers following the chipmaker. The firm's March sales are now expected to reach the equivalent of $3.43 billion, with the majority of that figure being attributed to 12nm and 16nm chips ordered by NVIDIA and Chinese Bitcoin mining company Bitmain. Besides its cryptocurrency operations, NVIDIA is also seeking to leverage the ordered chips to support its gaming device portfolio, sources claim. The American tech giant provides the 20nm Tegra X1 chips Nintendo uses to power its Switch portable gaming console whose revision is rumored to be coming next year. The improved version of the console is also expected to utilize an NVIDIA-made module manufactured with TSMC's process technology.
TSMC is now planning to start shipping its 7nm chips to Apple in the second quarter of the year, with that product series being likely to continue driving its sales growth in mid-2018 and beyond, industry insiders believe. Huawei's HiSilicon, Qualcomm, and Xilinx are all said to have already placed orders on TSMC's 7nm offerings. Among other solutions, the company's 7nm technology is expected to be used for manufacturing Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 which should be announced in late 2018. The San Diego, California-based semiconductor manufacturer is still rumored to return to Samsung's foundry business next year with the Snapdragon 865, according to recent reports.
TSMC's 2018 turnover is predicted to increase no less than ten percentage points on an annual basis, primarily due to the growing demand from the cryptocurrency and smartphone segments. The tech giant's 7nm FinFET process should be ready for flow production in June and be the world's first such chipmaking solution. Samsung is only expected to prepare its own 7nm technologies for mass-production in the second half of the year, though the South Korean conglomerate's platform will leverage extreme ultraviolet lithography which TSMC's first 7nm process lacks.