TSMC Ramps Up Production of 7nm Chips Ahead of 2018 iPhones, Invests $25 Billion to Move to 5nm by 2020

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has begun commercial production of chips manufactured using its advanced 7-nanometer process (via DigiTimes). One of the major customers for chips built with the technology will be Apple and the A12 processor, which is expected to be found in all three upcoming 2018 iPhones.

    The announcement comes from newly appointed TSMC CEO C.C. Wei, who spoke during the company's technology symposium in Taiwan yesterday in hopes of dismissing recent speculation that TSMC's 7nm production was facing a "slower-than-expected" yield rate. Wei didn't provide specific orders and customers for the 7nm chip output, but indicated the ramp up will boost TSMC's overall production capacity from 10.5 million wafers in 2017 to 12 million in 2018.


    The chips built using the 7nm process technology are destined for AI, GPU, cryptocurrency, and 5G applications -- totaling 50 chip designs by the end of 2018. For iPhones, the new 7nm process will pave the way for the type of performance improvements customers expect in new iPhones every year.
    At the technology symposium, Wei also said that TSMC is scheduled to move a new 5nm node technology to mass production towards the end of 2019 or early 2020, with plans to invest $25 billion into the technology.

    In January, DigiTimes reported that Apple selected TSMC to remain the exclusive supplier of the upcoming A12 processor for its 2018 iPhones, following rumors from last summer that Samsung could be returning to iPhone chip production this year. TSMC is the exclusive supplier of the A11 Bionic processor found in the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X, as well as the sole supplier of the A10 Fusion processor in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

    According to a DigiTimes report last year, TSMC's integrated fan-out wafer-level packaging technology -- which the supplier uses in its 7nm FinFET chip fabrication -- is largely superior to any progress made by Samsung in the same field, which eventually led to Apple's decision to stick with one supplier for all of its processors again this year.

    Apple's decision to keep TSMC as the sole A-series chip manufacturer in 2018 will mark the third year in a row that the supplier created iPhone chips alone, following the A10 in 2016 and the A11 Bionic in 2017. The last time Apple dual sourced chips was in 2015, when both Samsung and TSMC supplied the A9 chip in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which frustrated some users when TSMC's technology was discovered to boast slightly better battery life.

    Article Link: TSMC Ramps Up Production of 7nm Chips Ahead of 2018 iPhones, Invests $25 Billion to Move to 5nm by 2020
  2. gsmornot macrumors 68030


    Sep 29, 2014
    I'm holding out for 2nm. It really is amazing how small they are getting.
    Looking forward to it. Wish the notch was only 7nm though.
  3. vertical smile macrumors 68030

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    This situation was pretty comical.

    Before the news about the TSMC chip being slightly better, there were a lot of posts on the forum of people complaining about it, saying that they did not want to get, or they ended up getting the TSMC chip, and they wanted the Samsung one.

    I think there where people speculating where the to source the iPhones with the Samsung chips, like what stores, or carriers.

    Then the tests were done showing that the TSMC chip performed better.

    I got a laugh out of it. I think in the whole scheme of things, it probably wasn't even noticeable.
  4. gsmornot macrumors 68030


    Sep 29, 2014
    I read many posts here from people swapping their phones several times until they got the chip they wanted. I don't remember now which one I had but it was whatever was considered slower and it was perfectly fine with me. Seems like I had the Samsung chip. Forgot all about this.
  5. DanielDD macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2013
  6. Col4bin, Jun 22, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018

    Col4bin macrumors 68000


    Oct 2, 2011
    El Segundo
    I don't mind the 7nm size, I just like mine salt & vinegar flavor.
  7. wilsonlaidlaw macrumors 6502


    Oct 29, 2008
    5nM must be getting near the size limit below which quantum effects become significant. That said having slowed down for a couple of years in decreasing size, TSMC suddenly seem to have leapt forward in the diminution stakes.
  8. vertical smile macrumors 68030

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    I know there was an app to show which chip was inside the phone, I never bothered to check.

    But, I guess I understand that some people might feel cheated if they got a phone that was slightly not as good as other people with the same phone.
  9. Kabeyun macrumors 65816


    Mar 27, 2004
    Eastern USA
    It really is amazing how small things are getting. 5 nm equals 50 Å. We’re way below frequencies of light and getting into atomic radii.
  10. travelsheep macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2013
    Really don't know who's still buying iPhones nowadays .. but apparently tens of millions of people...
  11. KPandian1 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2013
    Intel is still struggling with the 10nm at full scale and power, isn't it? Also, has it integrated the GPU with the 10nm CPU?
  12. Freida macrumors 65816

    Oct 22, 2010
    And Intel is still struggling with 10nm. :)
  13. val.kalinic Suspended


    May 29, 2011
    I mean this is getting just ridiculous. Meanwhile, actual computers are neglected for years and years.
  14. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    I never heard about nanometer sizes in the Commodore 64 days. It must have been huge.
  15. Baymowe335 macrumors 68020

    Oct 6, 2017
    The beast A-series chips march forward.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 22, 2018 ---
    Hundreds of millions. 216M last year.
  16. DrJohnnyN macrumors 65816


    Jan 27, 2010
  17. shadowbird423 macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2009
    Chapel Hill
    Intel’s sizes are not directly comparable with TSMC or Samsung’s. I’d say their 10 is about equivalent to the 7 everyone in mobile is at. Everyone is having problems at this size because the chips are tiny.
  18. gaanee macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2011
    On a different note.... Looks like the LCD model will have slightly thicker bezels compared to OLED ones.. not too bad though compared existing LCD screens and also the chin at the top and bottom is smaller
  19. HarryKeogh macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2008
    This reminds me...I have to patent 4nm chips later today so I can sue somebody in 6 or 7 years.
  20. notabadname macrumors 65816


    Jan 4, 2010
    Detroit Suburbs
    Because, of course, an iPhone is not an “actual” computer. Funny. As they say, “The best camera is the one you have with you” . . So goes it with the computer, and Apple has understood that with mobile computing better than the rest.
  21. Nebulance macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2010
    Why not go for the 1-nm size while you're at it? That's where the real money is!
  22. Glideslope, Jun 22, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018

    Glideslope macrumors 603


    Dec 7, 2007
    A quiet place in NY.
    It's going to be the beginning of Apples Desktop ARM Strategy also. Big layoffs at Global Foundries starting this week also. Too bad. Competition is a good thing. Just can't get their act together. :apple:
  23. nviz22 macrumors 601


    Jun 24, 2013
    A11 is already ahead of what Qualcomm puts out. A12 will make it even rougher on Qualcomm.
  24. twolf2919 macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2014
    I think you'll be waiting for a long time. Aside from the technical/physical challenges, I'm not even sure it's economical.
  25. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Probably because historically when it was a Samsung version of some part vs. anyone else's, the Samsung one was superior. There were years of Samsung Screens/SSDs/etc vs. others and Samsung was generally chosen as the BEST one. Do that a few times and consumers will automatically assume the same in another multi-supplier situation.

    Based on the past, that thinking was pretty natural with history supporting of the idea of TRYING to land one with a Samsung-made brain. That it proved to be an exception only made it an unusual situation based on the past.

Share This Page