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TSMC N5P 5nm Node Offers 84-87% Transistor Density Gain Over Current 7nm Node

A WikiChip analysis of TSMC's next-generation 5 nanometer N5P silicon fabrication node estimates a massive 84-87% increase in transistor densities on offer compared to the company's first commercial 7 nm-class node, the N7 (7 nm DUV). The report estimates an 87% transistor-density increase, even though TSMC's own figure is slightly modest, at 84%. TSMC N5P node is expected to commence production later this year. Its precursor, TSMC N5, began risk production earlier this year, with production on the node commencing in April or May, unless derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The N5P node provides transistor densities of an estimated 171.3 million transistors per mm² die area, compared to 91.2 mTr/mm² of N7. Apple is expected to be the node's biggest customer in 2020, with the company building its A14-series SoC on it.

Samsung Announces Breakthrough in Building Blocks of 3nm Circuits, Updates Roadmap

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced its ongoing commitment to foundry innovation and service at the Samsung Foundry Forum 2019 USA, providing the silicon community with wide-ranging updates on technology advances that support the most demanding applications of today and tomorrow.

The event, held today in Santa Clara, California, features top Samsung executives and industry experts reviewing progress on semiconductor technologies and foundry platform solutions that enable developments in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, 5G networking, automotive, the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced data centers and many other domains.

Intel Courting Samsung to Manufacture Xe GPUs?

Intel's Xe discrete GPU project head Raja Koduri recently visited a Samsung Electronics silicon fabrication facility in Korea at the backdrop of the company's major 5 nm EUV announcement. This sparks speculation that Koduri could be exploring Samsung's portfolio of sub-10 nm contract-manufacturing offerings to mass-produce Xe discrete GPUs. Intel's own foundry business is reeling with mounting pressure from the company's main breadwinner, the client and enterprise processor businesses, to get its 10 nm node on the road. Koduri's GPU would need to leverage higher transistor densities than what Intel's 10 nm could offer, given that rival AMD is already implementing 7 nm, and NVIDIA is expected to go sub-10 nm with its future generation of GPUs.

Samsung Successfully Completes 5nm EUV Development

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced that its 5-nanometer (nm) FinFET process technology is complete in its development and is now ready for customers' samples. By adding another cutting-edge node to its extreme ultraviolet (EUV)-based process offerings, Samsung is proving once again its leadership in the advanced foundry market.

Compared to 7 nm, Samsung's 5 nm FinFET process technology provides up to a 25 percent increase in logic area efficiency with 20 percent lower power consumption or 10 percent higher performance as a result of process improvement to enable us to have more innovative standard cell architecture. In addition to power performance area (PPA) improvements from 7 nm to 5 nm, customers can fully leverage Samsung's highly sophisticated EUV technology. Like its predecessor, 5 nm uses EUV lithography in metal layer patterning and reduces mask layers while providing better fidelity.

TSMC is Ramping Up 7nm Production, 5nm Next Year

At their technology symposium in Taipei, TSMC CEO CC Wei has made remarks, dismissing speculation that their 7 nanometer yield rate was not as good as expected. Rather the company is ramping up production capacity for 7 nm quickly, up 9% from 10.5 million wafers in 2017, to 12 million wafers in 2018. They plan to tape out more than 50 chip designs in 2018, with the majority of the tape outs for AI, GPU and crypto applications, followed by 5G and application processors.

Most of their orders for the 7 nanometer node come from big players like AMD, Bitmain, NVIDIA and Qualcomm. Apple's A12 processor for upcoming iPhones is also a major driver for TSMC's 7 nanometer growth. These orders will be fulfilled in early 2019, so it'll be a bit longer before we have 7 nm processors for the masses.

Next-gen 5 nanometer production will kick off next year, followed by mass production in late 2019 or early 2020. The company will invest as much as USD 25 billion in their new production facilities for this process node.

TSMC Breaks Ground on 5nm 'Fab 18' in Taiwan

TSMC today held a groundbreaking ceremony for its Fab 18, Phase 1 facility at the Southern Taiwan Science Park. Led by Chairman Dr. Morris Chang, the event demonstrates TSMC's ongoing commitment to investing in Taiwan as well as to environmental sustainability, and marks another milestone in TSMC's 30-year history and its competitive advantage in technology leadership, manufacturing excellence, and customer trust. TSMC's Fab 18 will be its fourth 12-inch GigaFab in Taiwan and is scheduled for production of the advanced 5 nanometer process.

Following today's groundbreaking, the Company plans to complete construction of Phase 1 and begin equipment move-in in the first quarter of 2019, with volume production in early 2020. Phase 2 will start construction in third quarter 2018 and also enter volume production in 2020, while Phase 3 construction is scheduled for third quarter 2019 for volume production in 2021. Once all three phases enter production, the facility's estimated annual capacity will exceed one million 12-inch wafers, providing 4,000 high-quality jobs and becoming another bastion of TSMC's manufacturing excellence.
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