Reportedly, the tech giant Apple will be the first to receive the 3nm chips from the leading company TSMC for its devices; well, it’s not for the upcoming iPhone 14.
However, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Limited (TSMC) has been the world’s dedicated foundry since 1987. Substantially, TSMC and Samsung are sending chips made using their 3nm process node this year.
Moreover, the concept behind these microchips is that the more minor the process node, the higher the chip transistor count. The rumors ruled out the 3nm chips for the upcoming iPhone scheduled to release in the second week of September, but it’s not.
As per reports, Apple will use the 4nm A16 Bionic to power the expensive Pro models while the currently used 5nm A15 Bionic chip will be used on the non-Pro models. Although the Samsung industrial unit has already started shipping out 3nm chips this year, only for cryptocurrency miners.
In addition, TSMC will also send 3nm chips this year, and Apple, as the potent customer of the firm, expected the tech giant to be the first to receive N3 chips from TSMC when they start shipping later this year. Meanwhile, N3 is the designation for TSMC’s first generation of 3nm chips.
Furthermore, Apple moves to the newest process node; the latest chips are usually released in time to be included in the upcoming new iPhone series. Unfortunately, according to the rumors, the schedule didn’t work this year, and Apple will use TSMC’s N4 chips for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone Pro Max.
In good times, Apple couldn’t purvey to take a risk on TSMC’s setup of its N3 chips, so the A16 Bionic will be made using 4nm technology, which is, in reality, a further amplified version of the foundry’s 5nm process node. Substantially, the first chip manufactured using TSMC’s N3 process node will probably be Apple’s first 3nm chip, the M2 Pro.
More interestingly, it can be fun to note how many transistors will be crammed into the 4nm A16 Bionic and the 3nm A17 Bionic. That was a 27% increase from the 11.8 billion transistors used in the 7nm A13 Bionic. Similarly, a traipse for the A16 Bionic would take the former transistor count to slightly above 19 billion, in line with Macworld’s estimated price of 18 billion to 20 billion.
Well, it’s not revealed yet that TSMC would manufacture 2nm after 3nm. However, in April, TSMC CEO C.C. Wei said that the target is for TSMC to start shipping 2nm chips by 2026, making 3nm “a long node.”
Meanwhile, TSMC is still using FinFET transistors at 3nm, and it will switch to Gate-All-Around for 2nm, a rival Samsung already made with its 3nm node. In addition, both foundries will continue to use Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV) on their 3nm nodes to etch the thinner-than-hair circuitry patterns on the wafers that become chips.
On the contrary, IBM startled the chip world by producing the world’s first 2nm chip. IBM said it allowed Big Blue “to fit 50 billion transistors in a space roughly the size of a fingernail using Gate-All-Around architecture.”
TSMC claimed that its 3nm FinFET chips would reduce energy consumption by 25-30% at the same speed and increase speed by 10-15% at the same amount of power as its previous 5nm FinFET chips. Comparatively, Samsung has estimated that its 3nm process node will reduce energy consumption by 45% and improve performance by 23%.