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Why it matters: Apple will reportedly be TSMC’s partner on the risk production run, which is exactly what it sounds like. TSMC believes the run will be successful and everything should work, but there is a risk that something could need tweaking. It’s a gamble that Apple is seemingly willing to take, because if everything goes according to plan, they’ll have access to 3nm chips much sooner than the competition.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is reportedly moving ahead with production of 3nm wafers.
According to Digitimes (paywalled, via PC Gamer), TSMC will be turning out 3nm risk production wafers by the end of 2021. During its worldwide technology symposium last summer, the company said it expected its 3nm N3 node to enter risk production this year ahead of volume production sometime in the second half of 2022.
Compared to N5, TSMC’s 3nm N3 node will boost performance by as much as 15 percent at the same power level, or reduce power consumption by up to 30 percent at the same transistor speed.
TSMC reportedly expects to be able to generate 30,000 3nm wafers per month by the end of 2021, a figure which should climb to 105,000 by 2023-24. In comparison, TSMC is making around 140,000 7nm wafers each month.