TSMC’s 3nm process cannot fully meet Apple’s requirements for the A17 Bionic and M3

There have been rumors that Apple plans to launch the A17 Bionic and M3 later this year, which will be the first chips to use TSMC’s 3nm process. However, recent reports say that TSMC’s 3nm process has encountered some problems and cannot fully meet Apple’s demand.

According to Wccftech, TSMC’s 3nm process seems to be limited in terms of tools and output and has been unable to increase production, and the yield rate has also encountered some problems. It is rumored that the yield rate of the Apple A17 Bionic and M3 chips is about 55%, and TSMC plans to increase the yield rate by about 5% per quarter. There have been reports that Apple has lowered the performance target of the A17 Bionic to increase the yield rate and reduce costs.

Some analysts said that because the A17 Bionic and M3 have different sizes, the number of chips on each wafer is also different. The A17 Bionic probably requires 82 mask layers, with a chip size of 100 to 110 square millimeters, and about 620 chips per wafer. The M3 is slightly larger than the A17 Bionic, with a chip size of 135 to 150 square millimeters, and about 450 chips per wafer. TSMC hopes to further improve the yield rate, from the current 55% to 70%.

The biggest obstacle for TSMC’s 3nm process at the moment is to ensure that the expensive equipment and tools from different suppliers can play their best role. It seems that there are some problems with using them now, which leads to a decline in efficiency and makes the 3nm chips struggle in production. TSMC’s main goal at the moment is to optimize production. Due to the large shipment volume of the new generation iPhone 15 series smartphones, Apple has a high demand for the A17 Bionic, and TSMC’s 3nm chip production needs to climb as soon as possible to cope.