There is a problem with the 3nm yield rate of TSMC

It was previously reported that TSMC will mass-produce the N3 process node in the second half of 2022, and plans to launch an enhanced 3nm process called N3E, which will have better performance and power consumption, with mass production in the second half of 2023. In addition, schemes such as N3B with different costs and designs may also be introduced. At the end of last year, TSMC has already started trial production of 3nm chips in Fab 18.

TSMC chip supply shortage

According to DigiTimes, TSMC’s N3 process node plan has not been smoothly advanced and has been continuously revised. However, the improvement progress of the overall performance such as the yield rate is still lower than expected, and even some parts have difficulties and need to be rearranged. As a result, many customers such as Apple have recently placed orders based on the N5 process node and its derived processes, expanding the use of processes such as N4, N4P, and N4X. TSMC’s N3 process node is designed for smartphones and high-performance computing (HPC) chips. Further application of extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) technology on the N5 process node, the number of mask layers will exceed 20 layers. Compared with the N5 process, TSMC promises that the performance of the N3 process can be improved by 10%-15%, or the power consumption can be reduced by 25%-30%.

TSMC said that the N3 process node still uses the structure of FinFET transistors to provide customers with the best technology maturity, performance, and cost. When TSMC’s 3nm process technology is launched, it will become the industry’s most advanced PPA and transistor technology, and the N3 process node will become another mass-produced and durable process node for TSMC. It has long been rumored that Intel and Apple have taken the lead in obtaining the production capacity of TSMC’s N3 process node. Intel plans to use the process on Meteor Lake, which will be released in 2023, to manufacture GPU modules; Apple will first be used on the chip on the new iPad in 2023, and it is currently very reluctant in terms of time.