TSMC, the world’s largest semiconductor foundry, has reported a surge in demand for its 7nm and 5nm chip manufacturing since the coronavirus pandemic. According to the latest report from China, the company’s 7nm and 5nm production facilities are running at maximum capacity to fulfill the demand of its customers. Even the next generation 3nm production lines are said to be completely booked.
Mass production of 3nm chips will likely begin in the second half of 2022. Since TSMC invested a lot of research and development resources into the production of 5nm chip technology, it could take about 7 to 8 quarters to reach the average gross profit margin. However, the profits from 5nm chip production will continue to increase from quarter to quarter.
TSMC 5nm chip production reaches maximum capacity
While MediaTek and AMD are expected to increase their orders, Intel will also likely join the customer base. Going by the same report, both Qualcomm and Nvidia will most likely be returning to TSMC for the production of their flagship chipsets. Although the San Diego-based chipmaker has chosen Samsung’s 5nm FinFET process technology for the production of Snapdragon 888, the next-gen Snapdragon 898 Plus could come from TSMC’s facility.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 898 Plus could be based on the advanced 4nm process. Apple will be using TSMC’s N5P node for the production of its upcoming A15 Bionic chip. Based on the report, Apple has placed orders for up to 100 million chips for iPhones and iPads alone.
In addition to the new iPhone chipsets, Apple also scaled up the order for its own Apple silicon for Macs. With a global shortage of semiconductors, TSMC seems to prioritize its top customers like Apple. While there is no confirmation, Apple is said to have secured a majority of the 5nm and 4nm production lines.
3nm chip production will happen in 2022
After all, Apple will be using its own chipsets to power the newer iPhones, iPads, and a majority of Macs. However, there is no mention of Apple securing TSMC’s 3nm production lines. In the current scenario, it’s highly likely that Apple will be one of the first to announce a 3nm chipset.
Meanwhile, TSMC also started working on the 2nm lithography. As of now, Samsung Electronics will be producing Google’s Tensor chip and the successor to Snapdragon 888. Samsung is also on track to begin the production of 3nm chips next year.