TSMC launched the N4 node final 12 months as an extension of its N5 node, these are sometimes called 4nm and 5nm, however they’re in the identical household. The corporate expects to begin delivery chips constructed on a subsequent technology node, N3, later this 12 months.
The evolution of TSMC nodes
The N3 node will reportedly be used for some upcoming iPads. Nonetheless, the subsequent main improve to Apple silicon will likely be primarily based on the improved N3E node this one will enhance efficiency and effectivity and (even higher) has been designed to be less expensive.
The evolution of TSMC’s nodes: N4 N3 N3E (picture credit score)
The N3E node will likely be used for the Apple A17, reviews Nikkei Asia, and it’ll go into mass manufacturing within the second half of subsequent 12 months. The following Mac chip sequence, the M3, can also be anticipated to make use of N3E.
The present Apple A16 chip is produced on the N4 node, similar because the Dimensity 9000/9000+ and Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, and is unique to the iPhone 14 Professional duo. The vanilla iPhone 14 pair makes use of the A15 (N5) from final 12 months.
Analysts imagine that the state of affairs subsequent 12 months will likely be comparable with the A17 chip being reserved for the iPhone 15 Professional fashions, whereas the non-Professional telephones will use a much less superior node (the A16 chip is the probably choose).
Observe that these nodes (N5, N4 and N3) are nonetheless utilizing FinFet designs, although TSMC has developed FinFlex for the N3 and N3E nodes. This may permit prospects to vary the steadiness of chip velocity vs. chip dimension based on their wants. Gate-All-Round designs (primarily based on nanosheets) will arrive with TSMCs N2 node.
Completely different fin configurations for N3E and the way they evaluate to an N5 chip
Samsung is already delivery chips constructed on its 3nm node and so they make the most of a Gate-All-Round design. Intel had initially made a deal to provide some 3nm chips at TSMCs foundries this 12 months or early subsequent 12 months, however three insiders declare that the order has been delayed to 2024.