TSMC has completed its design infrastructure for creating chips using a 5-nanometer process, enabling clients like Apple to begin work on their chip designs using the 5nm process.
TSMC is already working to perfect the 5-nanometer manufacturing process, which is said to be in “risk production,” though it is unknown how long it will be until it becomes viable for clients, including Apple, to use for their own needs. It also isn’t presently clear how much Apple will benefit from the manufacturer-friendly changes to the development process, as the companies already have a close relationship.
Compared with TSMC’s 7nm process, its innovative scaling features deliver 1.8X logic density and 15% speed gain on an ARM® Cortex®-A72 core, along with superior SRAM and analog area reduction enabled by the process architecture. The 5nm process enjoys the benefits of process simplification provided by EUV lithography, and is making excellent progress in yield learning, achieving the best technology maturity at the same corresponding stage as compared to TSMC’s previous nodes.
TSMC has long been Apple’s sole supplier of A-series chips thanks to its quest for ever-smaller processes leaving Samsung behind. The company isn’t stopping at 5nm, reportedly aiming for 3nm production in 2022.