Just recently, we posted that Nvidia and AMD had taken up all available capacity at TSMC for this year. While TSMC will be pushing all available 7nm and above processes for AMD and Nvidia, they’ll also be working on the 2nm process. TSMC was actually focusing on the 3nm process but instead, decided on 2nm.
According to a report by Techspot, back in December 2019, TSMC planned to start production of 5nm by the end of 2020, and 3nm in 2022. Now they finally announced that they will start manufacturing on the 2nm node. As TomsHardware puts it, “Painstakingly few details are available about the 2nm process”.
Although the details are scarce, we do know some things. The smaller node sizes will help in a great reduction in manufacturing costs. With the reduction in transistor density, we get improvements in power efficiency, and performance.
Right now, TSMC’s 7nm node production has peaked as Nvidia and AMD have taken all the capacity. Other customers like Apple and Huawei were on 7nm, but due to a report by Reuters, the US decided to cut off Huawei from using TSMC’s lithography. Apple moved to 5nm for their new A14 Bionic processors.
The only major competitor to TSMC is Samsung, however, it is yet to mass-manufacture 5nm chips and has even delayed 3nm chipsets to 2022 due to COVID-19 pandemic. So we will see mass production of the 3nm chips by 2022.
We have come a long way from 50 micrometers lithography(in 1960), all the way to 5 nanometers. We are finally moving past Moore’s law to 3nm and below.
It’ll be interesting to know how far the node shrinks will help in power efficiency and gains before we start getting diminishing returns. It also remains to be seen as to when the 2nm nodes will be available for the public to use in their devices. Maybe we all could see it by 2025 at the earliest.