In a nutshell: A lot of companies are suffering during this pandemic, but the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) isn’t one of them. According to a new report, the firm is ramping up production to meet demand from Nvidia and AMD, with the former set to use TSMC’s new 5nm process node.
According to Digitimes’ “industry sources,” TSMC will post strong results for the first half of 2020 thanks to upcoming short lead-time orders. The Taiwanese firm is benefitting from Nvidia’s forthcoming Ampere GPU and AMD’s Ryzen and Epyc CPUs.
Digitimes doesn’t go into detail about Nvidia’s 5nm intentions—Ampere is known to be based on the 7nm process—so we don't know what it could be for. AMD is also planning similar orders—a recent roadmap revealed it would use 5nm for its Epyc Genoa chips—and Apple is reportedly moving to 5nm nodes.
As so many people now work and study from home, the lockdown has brought a boost in demand for laptops and desktops, many of which contain Nvidia and AMD hardware. The record spending on digital games—$10 billion in March—is also helping the tech companies’ bottom lines, with people buying gaming laptops, graphics cards, and CPUs. There's also the Xbox Series One and PS5, both of which will contain AMD tech.
The stay-at-home requirements have seen AMD and Nvidia increase their orders with TSMC. Team red’s current lineup of products use 7nm, while Nvidia is buying more 16nm, 12nm, and 7nm nodes to cover its entire family of products, which includes the Tegra X1 processors used in the Nintendo Switch.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang recently confirmed that the company would not be laying off any workers during the Covid-19 crisis, thanks to its strong position. To help employees cope with the economic crisis, everyone at the firm is receiving “accelerating” raises.