TSMC, the world’s largest semiconductor foundry, officially started manufacturing semiconductor products using 5nm manufacturing processes from June 2020. In the midst of this, TSMC CEO Wei Jia (魏哲家) is drawing attention by revealing the next generation 5nm manufacturing process and 3nm manufacturing process mass production start timing, and the R&D status of the 2nm manufacturing process.
TSMC began production of semiconductors in the world’s first 5nm manufacturing process N5 in June 2020. CEO Wei Jia said that N5 has already entered the second year of mass production and is realizing higher yields than originally planned.
According to reports, the use of the semiconductor produced by TSMC is not disclosed, but the N5 is being used for the Apple M1 and the Apple A14 Bionic, and the N5 is analyzed that the N5 is being used in the SoC developed by Apple, the largest customer of TSMC.
CEO Wei Jia also said that the demand for N5 will continue to grow over the next few years due to the growing demand for smartphones and HPC applications. Reportedly, he said that the HPC application program included various types of products such as CPU, GPU, FPGA, AI accelerator, and SoC mounted in game consoles. It is pointed out that this is an important fact.
One analyst says TSMC’s N5 has 170 million transistors per millimeter 2. In contrast, Samsung 5nm manufacturing process is 100 000 000 3000 10000 to 2500 million per 1mm 2 Intel is equipped with 100 million transistors per 1mm 2 to 10nm manufacturing processes. TSMC’s N5 is evaluated as the most dense technology available as of April 2021.
In addition, TSMC is expected to begin production of N5P semiconductors, a power-saving version 5nm manufacturing process, within a few weeks. TSMC is characterized by the fact that N5P can increase operating frequency by up to 5% with the same power consumption as N5, reduce power consumption by up to 10% at the same operating frequency, and semiconductor design companies can smoothly transition from N5 to N5P. I am explaining.
TSMC plans to start manufacturing N4 semiconductors in the second half of 2021 and mass production in 2022. The N4 adopts the same design rules and manufacturing equipment as the N5, while increasing the PPA, performance, power consumption, and transistor density over the N5, and expanding the use of EUV lithography over the N5 in the production phase. CEO Wei Jia said the N4 will use design rules compatible with the N5 and will expand the 5nm process by leveraging the strong technology foundation it has grown in.
TSMC can gain 3 years of experience in EUV production and 2 years of N5 production before starting mass production of N4 in 2022. Therefore, there is an expectation that the N4 yield is high and can be expected to provide stable performance.
TSMC aims to start mass production of semiconductors by N3, a 3nm manufacturing process, in the second half of 2022. N3 is expected to improve performance by 10-15% with the same power than N5, and reduce power consumption by 25-30% with the same performance. In addition, the N3 adopts existing technologies such as EUV lithography and DUV lithography. Samsung Electronics is developing its own GAAFET MBCFET for 3GAE, a 3nm manufacturing process, but it is worth noting that TSMC’s N3 does not require new technology development.
CEO Wei Jia said TSMC aims to begin mass production of the N3 in the second half of 2022. The company is confident in both the N5 and the N3 and expressed expectations for the N3 by saying that it will bring long-term benefits to TSMC.
TSMC is also conducting research and development for 2nm manufacturing process using GAAFET. According to the 2020 annual report released by TSMC, the research and development of the 2nm manufacturing process is progressing smoothly, and TSMC is focusing on fields such as memory technology and 3D transistors for microprocessing of 2nm or more, and it is said that R&D is underway.
TSMC has invested an additional $3 billion in R&D expenditures of $10 billion over the past three years. It is noteworthy that TSMC is expanding its R&D. Related information can be found here.