TSMC’s N3P 3nm Process Ready for Mass Production in Late 2024

In the fourth quarter of 2023, TSMC commenced mass production of its second-generation 3nm process, known as N3E, further advancing its 3nm process node production plans. Previous reports indicated that as more customers place orders at the 3nm process node, its revenue share will continuously increase, with the 3nm process node expected to account for over 20% of TSMC’s revenue in 2024.

According to TomsHardware, TSMC announced at the recent 2024 European Technology Symposium that its third-generation 3nm process, N3P, will enter large-scale production in the second half of 2024. After initial production struggles, TSMC’s 3nm process node has gradually stabilized.

Currently, the only chip on the market utilizing the N3E process is Apple’s M4, which, compared to the M3 using the N3B process, not only increases the number of transistors but also enhances operating frequency, demonstrating impressive results. TSMC stated that the yield and quality of the N3E process are excellent, reflecting well in customer products and boosting confidence among other potential customers to adopt this process.

N3E simplifies the N3B process by reducing the number of EUV mask layers from 25 to 21, thereby lowering production costs and improving yield and quality. As an enhanced process, N3P offers additional improvements over N3E, increasing performance by 5% at the same power or reducing power consumption by 5%-10% at the same frequency, with a density 1.04 times that of N3E.

Moreover, N3P retains compatibility with N3E’s IP modules and design tools, making it an attractive option for developers. This continuity ensures that most new chip designs can transition from N3E to N3P, leveraging the latter’s superior performance and cost efficiency.