The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) expects its advanced 3nm process to enter into commercial production in the second half of 2022.
At TSMC's 26th Technology Symposium held in Hsinchu, chief executive C.C. Wei announced that the trial production of the 3nm (N3) process is scheduled to start next year, following which it will enter into the mass production phase in the second half of 2022.
TSMC promises its 3nm technology will be 30 per cent more energy efficient and 15 per cent faster than the 5nm N5 process, which entered into mass production in 2020.
In contrast to Samsung's 3nm process node, which makes use of gate-all-around (GAA) transistor structures, TSMC will continue with FinFET transistors, relying on "innovative features" to achieve the full-node scaling that N3 promises to bring.
TSMC also said that it has been building a high-tech plant for the 3nm process in Tainan, with the aim of maintaining its lead over competitors.
TSMC announced that it's ramping up N5 production in its Fab 18 chip manufacturing facility. The company claims that its N5 process, which uses EUV technology "extensively", offers up to 15 per cent more performance (at the same power) or 30 per cent power reduction (at the same performance), compared to the 7nm N7 process.
At its annual Technology Symposium, TSMC laid out a roadmap for other 5nm successors in the form of N5P and N4 process nodes.
The chip maker said that its new N5P node is based on the current N5 process that extends its power and performance efficiency with a 10 per cent power reduction and 5 per cent speed gain.
The company is also working on a N4 node that will employ more EUV layers to reduce masks. N4 risk production is expected to commence in Q4 2021 and volume production in 2022.
Last week, Lipen Yuan, Director of Advanced Technology Business Development at TSMC announced that the company manufactured its one-billionth functional, defect-free chip on 7nm technology in July.
It's "a remarkable achievement for a technology that entered volume production in April 2018," Yuan said in a blog post.
"Since then, we have manufactured 7nm chips for well over 100 products from dozens of customers. It is enough silicon to cover more than 13 Manhattan city blocks, and with more than a billion transistors per chip, this is true Exa level, or over one quintillion 7nm transistors."
"TSMC has deployed extensive sensors in our equipment to ensure that every piece of useful data is collected, and we use artificial intelligence and machine learning to turn that data into knowledge and intelligence to improve our manufacturing. Not one opportunity to learn goes to waste."
Huawei can no longer produce the chips it needs for its high-end smartphones with features like 5G and AI, due to US government sanctions
Rivals AMD and Nvidia have already started taking advantage of 7nm technology to produce more efficient chips
The chip maker is also rumoured to have made major breakthrough in 2nm chips
The first Macs with Apple chips will arrive by the end of the year
Both AMD and Intel are continuing to produce CPUs at near full capacity despite the COVID-19 outbreak