TSMC has announced it is ramping up manufacturing of 7nm chips, with commercial production now in full swing. During its own technology symposium hosted in Taiwan on June 21st, TSMC CEO CC Wei broke the news as he dismissed claims that the manufacturing company was struggling with 7nm production yield.
According to CC Wei, TSMC has been bolstered by the increased 7nm chip output and overall production capabilities have swelled from 10.5 million 12-inch wafers in 2017 up to 12 million wafers in 2018, a growth of 9%
As for which firms TSMC is tied into contracts with for 7nm chips, CC Wei indicated that at least 50 chip designs on the 7nm process technology would be taped out by the end of 2018. The majority of these chips are reserved for AI, GPU and dedicated cryptocurrency mining usage, as well as a handful for 5G chips and application processors.
Looking a step further ahead, the improved 7nmm with EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) lithography will feature in the first tape-outs towards the back half of this year.
Finally, risk production of TSMC’s 5nm node is scheduled to start in the first half of 2019. This emerging technology is still a ways off though, with mass production of 5nm wafers expected at the tail-end of 2019 or early 2020. To that end, the first 5nm GPUs/CPUs utilising the new process probably won’t crop up until late 2020.
From a graphics card point of view, we're expecting the first 7nm GPUs to head to the market in 2019. For the time being, Nvidia looks to be using 12nm chips from TSMC for its upcoming generation of GPUs, so we could have a little wait on our hands until some next-gen GPUs arrive on the 7nm TSMC process node. From the sounds of things, AMD may be a little ahead of the curve in terms of 7nm and we may even see the first 7nm CPU and/or GPU products later this year.