Good news for TSMC: its 3nm node will take flight in 2024 thanks to the push of these three companies

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3nm lithography has given TSMC many headaches. And to Samsung. These two companies have struggled for many months to achieve optimal yield per wafer . They need it to be at least 70% to ensure profitability and attract more customers, although the optimal value established by the industry is 90%. Despite everything, for months both companies have had difficulties in bringing performance beyond 60%.

It has not yet emerged what performance value per wafer they are moving at right now, but it is likely that both are already above 70% . Be that as it may, the real protagonist of this article is TSMC’s 3 nm lithography. During the last quarter of 2023, only Apple used this node of the Taiwanese company, so 3nm chips represented only 15% of TSMC’s revenue during this period. In 2024 the panorama will change.

Apple, Intel, and AMD will pull the wagon

A very interesting report prepared by the media reflects that in 2024 TSMC’s 3 nm lithography will not be claimed only by Apple; Intel and AMD will also bet on it . And perhaps some other regular TSMC customer will do it, such as MediaTek or Qualcomm, although at the moment this possibility is just a guess. The information that is well tied is the one that foresees that Apple, Intel and AMD will commission TSMC to manufacture integrated circuits using their 3 nm lithography.

According to the report that I mentioned in the previous paragraph, during the fiscal year 2024, 20% of TSMC’s revenue will come from its 3 nm nodes, so the difference compared to 2023 is notable. Currently, Apple receives the A17 Pro SoC and the M3 processors for the iMac and MacBook computers from the TSMC N3B node, but in 2024 presumably the A18 SoC of the iPhone 16 and the M4 processor of the next Macs will be manufactured by TSMC using its lithography. 3nm.

On the other hand, AMD is preparing its next processors with Zen 5 microarchitecture, which will presumably be manufactured using TSMC’s 3 and 4 nm lithographs. It is important that we keep in mind that AMD uses chipsets, and one of the advantages of this disaggregated architecture is that each chipset can be manufactured with a different integration technology. The next AMD processors will probably arrive during the second half of this year.

We have Intel left. This company is currently the second largest semiconductor manufacturer on the planet, but it is also a customer of TSMC., A good client. It is presumably going to commission its Taiwanese competitor and at the same time collaborator to manufacture its next processor codenamed ‘Lunar Lake MX’ on its 3nm node.

It will be the first time that Intel cedes the production of one of its products intended for the mass consumer market to another chip manufacturer. According to the report I mentioned a few lines above, TSMC will begin large-scale manufacturing of these chips during the second quarter of 2024.

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