TSMC’s major customers delay the adoption of 3nm
Although Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) currently maintains its leadership in advanced manufacturing processes, factors such as a global economic slowdown, a sluggish semiconductor industry, expensive advanced processes, and weak consumer demand have prompted clients to reduce orders, potentially hindering TSMC from achieving its growth targets.
According to Digitimes, major TSMC customers, such as Qualcomm, MediaTek, NVIDIA, and AMD, have all revised their original plans, postponing the adoption of 3nm and more advanced processes. AMD’s consumer-grade chips are expected to remain on 4nm and higher processes until 2025, with its EPYC server processors slated for 3nm adoption in the second half of 2024. The Zen 6 architecture processors, initially planned for the 2nm process, are anticipated to debut in 2026 at the earliest. NVIDIA is still evaluating its options and is likely to enter the 3nm process node in 2025.
Recent reports suggest that Apple does not plan to release the M3 chip this year, delaying it until 2024. Apple is set to unveil its next-generation iPhone 15 series, with high-end models likely featuring the TSMC-manufactured 3nm A17 Bionic. If sales of the new iPhone models also fall short of expectations, TSMC’s operations may face further repercussions.
Due to growing concerns over 3nm capacity, yield rates, and costs, TSMC has recently reiterated its 3nm and 2nm plans. The company will introduce an improved N3E process this year, offering lower costs and greater economic benefits. Subsequently, it will provide a more extensive product portfolio at the 3nm process node, including N3P, N3X, and N3AE, catering to diverse customer requirements.
Semiconductor industry insiders have noted that TSMC’s 3nm process has faced controversy over the past year, with concerns about yield rates, efficiency, and pricing for the new process. The market supply and demand outlook for the second half of the year is less than optimistic, and even Apple has been affected.