Friday, April 22nd 2022

Apple, Intel to Become Alpha Customers for TSMC's 2 nm Manufacturing Node

Industry reports and sources in the financial community have placed Apple and Intel as the two premier customers for TSMC's upcoming N2 node. N2, which is expected to enter volume production by the end of 2025, will be TSMC's first manufacturing process making use of GAAFET (Gate-All-Around Field-Effect Transistor) design. If there are no significant market upheavals or unexpected snags in technology transition, TSMC will be late to the GAAFET party, following Samsung's 3GAE node in 2023 and Intel's first Angstrom-era process, Intel 20A, in 2024.

While Apple's uptake on TSMC's latest manufacturing technology is practically a given at this point, the fact that Intel too is taking up TSMC's N2 node showcases the company's evolved business tactics after the introduction of its IDM 2.0 strategy (IDM standing for Integrated Device Manufacturer, meaning Intel too will fabricate chips according to clients' specs). While pre-Pat Gelsinger was seemingly scared of touching any other foundries' products - mostly from the fact that Intel does have its own significant manufacturing capabilities and R&D, after all - the new Intel is clearly more at peace with driving its competitor's revenues.
As there's a significant cost in adopting a new manufacturing node, Apple is especially primed to take advantage of technological innovations due to the fact that it sells complete systems, which allows it to increase margins on other hardware elements to make up for the significant chip manufacturing costs. While Intel itself doesn't enjoy that advantage, it's expected that the company will leverage TSMC's N2 mode for its own SoCs and Lunar Lake GPU tiles, which the company placed on its roadmap with clear intention of using post-N3 manufacturing tech.
Source: Tom's Hardware
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64 Comments on Apple, Intel to Become Alpha Customers for TSMC's 2 nm Manufacturing Node

#1
defaultluser
If anyone is somehow buying Intel's two years "and we're all ready to go" jump to 5nm, I have a bridge to sell you!

tSMC will be the fist fab to have production capacities (its the only reason I can think-of why Intel has bet-it-all on reserving a second manufacturing line!)
Posted on Reply
#2
bonehead123
Well, it would seem that the old adage applies here: History teaches us that history teaches us NUTHIN !

To wit: Buried in the fine print of the contracts with Apple is a clause that secures them priority/top-dog status over & above all other customers for like the next 10 years or so.....

If you think for 1 nanosecond that Intel is smart enough to out-maneuver Apple on this situation, then I have some prime beachfront resort property to sell you.... in Kansas City :roll:
Posted on Reply
#3
ppn
defaultluserIf anyone is somehow buying Intel's two years "and we're all ready to go" jump to 5nm, I have a bridge to sell you!

tSMC will be the fist fab to have production capacities (its the only reason I can think-of why Intel has bet-it-all on reserving a second manufacturing line!)
It looks like intel doesn't have 5nm in plans any longer.

10 was repurposed as 7,
7 was renamed to 4
and there is no 5, you see.

And 2024 on 20/18A is way way better than just the ordinary 5, it's the old 3nm.
Posted on Reply
#4
dir_d
So what's the actual nm size, is the 2nm an actual 5?
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#5
AnarchoPrimitiv
I hate Intel doing this, it's bad for the market and bad for consumers....and I'll say that any time a company just relies on it's financial power to muscle around competition rather than innovating....in a just world, Intel would be forced to strictly use their own fabs. Even though it's impossible, If we could get reassurance that Intel's business with TSMC had absolutely no negative effect on AMD's access to silicon, I'd be more at ease....it's just that after Intel's history of bribing OEMs instead playing fair, I cant put anything past them....and returning to the days of Intel hegemony would end my interest in PCs once and for all.
Posted on Reply
#6
ARF
dir_dSo what's the actual nm size, is the 2nm an actual 5?
There is nothing two nanometres in it, it is a marketing lie.

Look at the feature sizes of the former processes:


5 nm process - Wikipedia
Posted on Reply
#7
PhantomTaco
ARFThere is nothing two nanometres in it, it is a marketing lie.

Look at the feature sizes of the former processes:


5 nm process - Wikipedia
Really wish that people would learn this. It has been an extremely long time since nm = nm across node nomenclature, yet still the public rabbles around and parades the marketing names like they mean something.
Posted on Reply
#8
ARF
PhantomTacoReally wish that people would learn this. It has been an extremely long time since nm = nm across node nomenclature, yet still the public rabbles around and parades the marketing names like they mean something.
Good point, I honestly don't know what the purpose of this race to lower numbers actually means. Look at the discrepancy between the IRDS roadmap that sets the process specifications, and then look at how TSMC violates it, with one full node behind the roadmap, while Samsung is either two or even three full nodes behind the schedule.

I mean the customer is not stupid, he will see the final performance and will understand that Samsung is a no-go.
Posted on Reply
#9
TheoneandonlyMrK
ARFGood point, I honestly don't know what the purpose of this race to lower numbers actually means. Look at the discrepancy between the IRDS roadmap that sets the process specifications, and then look at how TSMC violates it, with one full node behind the roadmap, while Samsung is either two or even three full nodes behind the schedule.

I mean the customer is not stupid, he will see the final performance and will understand that Samsung is a no-go.
Intel are nearly ahead with Angstrom chip's due, for Maximum irony.
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#10
_larry
So, what is after "nm" again? We running out of numbers. :slap:
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#11
ARF
_larrySo, what is after "nm" again? We running out of numbers. :slap:
What will be the last process? We are approaching that moment, I guess by 2030 there will be physical obstacles to shrink the transistors even further?
Posted on Reply
#12
DeathtoGnomes
the new Intel is clearly more at peace with driving its competitor's revenues.
This gave me a chuckle. :laugh:
ARFI mean the customer is not stupid, he will see the final performance
I think its more accurate to say most customers dont care about much except perfromance.
Posted on Reply
#13
Tigger
I'm the only one
Time for AMD to stop scratching its arse and spend some of the RYZEN cash on its own FAB/s But i guess even after all the success they still don't have enough money so are perpetually stuck relying on TSMC, they didn't even come up with 3D cache themselves, it was TSMC that did.
Posted on Reply
#14
JAB Creations
AnarchoPrimitivI hate Intel doing this, it's bad for the market and bad for consumers....and I'll say that any time a company just relies on it's financial power to muscle around competition rather than innovating....in a just world, Intel would be forced to strictly use their own fabs. Even though it's impossible, If we could get reassurance that Intel's business with TSMC had absolutely no negative effect on AMD's access to silicon, I'd be more at ease....it's just that after Intel's history of bribing OEMs instead playing fair, I cant put anything past them....and returning to the days of Intel hegemony would end my interest in PCs once and for all.
This is totally a move to jack up prices and decrease available capacity for AMD while simultaneously trying to appeal to consumers and businesses for "mindshare". TSMC should completely jack up the prices for Intel to discourage this crony anti-capitalist behavior!
TiggerTime for AMD to stop scratching its arse and spend some of the RYZEN cash on its own FAB/s But i guess even after all the success they still don't have enough money so are perpetually stuck relying on TSMC, they didn't even come up with 3D cache themselves, it was TSMC that did.
Yeah! Let's just completely ignore that this picture exists for any logical financial reason!

Posted on Reply
#15
Fourstaff
JAB CreationsThis is totally a move to jack up prices and decrease available capacity for AMD while simultaneously trying to appeal to consumers and businesses for "mindshare". TSMC should completely jack up the prices for Intel to discourage this crony anti-capitalist behavior!
You do realise this is peak capitalism right? Intel cannot manufacture competitive chips on their own fabs, they hire another fab to do it ...

Also, most people seem to think Intel is the big boy with lots of money here, but reality is that their market cap is less than 1/2 of TSMC's.
Posted on Reply
#16
JAB Creations
FourstaffYou do realise this is peak capitalism right? Intel cannot manufacture competitive chips on their own fabs, they hire another fab to do it ...

Also, most people seem to think Intel is the big boy with lots of money here, but reality is that their market cap is less than 1/2 of TSMC's.
Cronyism is not capitalism. People who refuse to distinguish good from evil support evil, they also prefer to live in the world at 240p.

Market cap has to do with trading shares, nothing else including cash on hand, investments, etc. It's a crude manner to compare two corporations in a wildly complex world.
Posted on Reply
#17
Wirko
TiggerTime for AMD to stop scratching its arse and spend some of the RYZEN cash on its own FAB/s But i guess even after all the success they still don't have enough money so are perpetually stuck relying on TSMC, they didn't even come up with 3D cache themselves, it was TSMC that did.
Nvidia is larger than Intel+AMD+QC, at least by market cap, and yet they don't make chips ... and TSMC, big as it is, has no money to set up its own wafer production. They prefer to buy wafers. I was amazed to learn that every foundry buys them, Intel too, and everyone else.
ARFThere is nothing two nanometres in it, it is a marketing lie.
If you look very carefully into IBM's 2 nm prototype chip, you can find a thin insulation or passivation layer around nanosheets which seems to be about 2 nm thick.

www.oled-a.org/ibmmdashfirst-to-produce-2nm-chip_051621.html
Also in colour: semiengineering.com/new-transistor-structures-at-3nm-2nm/ (Fig. 3)
Posted on Reply
#18
Fourstaff
JAB CreationsCronyism is not capitalism. People who refuse to distinguish good from evil support evil, they also prefer to live in the world at 240p.

Market cap has to do with trading shares, nothing else including cash on hand, investments, etc. It's a crude manner to compare two corporations in a wildly complex world.
TSMC operates a fab for hire. They go to the highest bidder, whomever that may be (and in many shapes, e.g. getting others to fund their capex). It just so happens that Intel and Apple are the highest (or fastest) bidders at this point in time, so they get to secure some allocations. I will not be surprised if Nvidia and AMD will secure their own slice of manufacturing quota in the near future.

Market cap is crude, yes, but it is the easiest method to illustrate the value (and therefore, financial power) of a company.
Posted on Reply
#19
TheoneandonlyMrK
TiggerTime for AMD to stop scratching its arse and spend some of the RYZEN cash on its own FAB/s But i guess even after all the success they still don't have enough money so are perpetually stuck relying on TSMC, they didn't even come up with 3D cache themselves, it was TSMC that did.
That's a nonsense, so Apple are way overdue a fab too, it doesn't work that way.
Posted on Reply
#20
Tigger
I'm the only one
Intel do not totally rely on TSMC for their CPU's. They are only getting their GPU's made by TSMC aren't they? that was my point. If they were making their own CPU's they would have more control over them. Fair enough the initial cost of the FAB is staggering, but over the years, surely it would be worth it in the long run. I don't know how much they are paying TSMC but i bet it is a lot.
Posted on Reply
#21
TranceHead
_larrySo, what is after "nm" again? We running out of numbers. :slap:
pm or picometre, fun times ahead.
Posted on Reply
#22
TheoneandonlyMrK
TiggerIntel do not totally rely on TSMC for their CPU's. They are only getting their GPU's made by TSMC aren't they? that was my point. If they were making their own CPU's they would have more control over them. Fair enough the initial cost of the FAB is staggering, but over the years, surely it would be worth it in the long run. I don't know how much they are paying TSMC but i bet it is a lot.
It's not the case that you build a fab buy the tools and your off, the IP that goes into a product development kit required year's of R and D research to build up the transistors, discrete elements and total circuit designs.
Intel, Samsung and Tsmc use the same machine's to make they're own designs happen, they're all doing they're own R&D IP to create the circuit or buying in IP for incorporation.
The technology is driven by ASML ,the designs are driven by they're owner's, and Intel's PDK isn't the same as Tsmc.
Also your picking up on AMD yet I repeat Apple should be first or Nvidia no?!.

After nanometre it's Angstrom, see Intel's pr release.
Posted on Reply
#23
Tigger
I'm the only one
I'm picking up on AMD because generally the crap on TPU is AMD vs Intel. Imo there is no doubt within 5 years Intel will have got their shit together and will be ahead of AMD again because they have their own FABS, again imo they are only using TSMC which is a recent thing is it not? until they get their shit together with their CPU making FABS.

Apple and Nvidia have no real correlation to AMD or Intel as Apple is mostly phones and computers that are not really in competition with AMD or Intel, and the other is GPU's only.
Posted on Reply
#24
TranceHead
In SI notation it's picometre. Other foundries may use angstrom nomenclature to keep things simple, 20A is a smaller number than 200pm after all but um to nm to pm just makes more sense to me
Posted on Reply
#25
TheoneandonlyMrK
TiggerI'm picking up on AMD because generally the crap on TPU is AMD vs Intel. Imo there is no doubt within 5 years Intel will have got their shit together and will be ahead of AMD again because they have their own FABS, again imo they are only using TSMC which is a recent thing is it not? until they get their shit together with their CPU making FABS.

Apple and Nvidia have no real correlation to AMD or Intel as Apple is mostly phones and computers that are not really in competition with AMD or Intel, and the other is GPU's only.
I disagree on Apple and Nvidia irrelevance , Apple has M2 due, not a phone chip , Nvidia has grace due, not a phone chip.

The Amd v Intel shit is caused by some having, and showing a bias.
I have been involved in the past I'll admit As an Adult should, I was wrong in that but realisation doesn't hurt and striving against your own biases helps a person be more reasoned in they're argument.

SI has little to do with naming convention, it should but by and large they're all decided by marketing men now not reality.
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