TSMC just unveiled its N4X process technology, which is designed for the high-demand workloads of high-performance computing (HPC) products. N4X represents ultimate performance and maximum clock frequencies in the 5-nanometer family and is the first of TSMC’s HPC-focused technology offerings. TSMC technologies developed specifically for HPC products are given the “X” designation.
TSMC enhanced its technology with features ideal for high-performance computing products to create N4X, leveraging its experience in 5nm volume production.
These features include:
- Device design and structures optimized for high drive current and maximum frequency
- Back-end metal stack optimization for high-performance designs
- Super high-density metal-insulator-metal capacitors for robust power delivery under extreme performance loads
N4X will have a performance improvement of up to 15% over N5, or up to 4% over the even faster N4P at 1.2 volts, thanks to these HPC features. N4X can generate drive voltages of more than 1.2 volts and provide improved performance. Customers can use the N5 process’s shared design standards to speed up the development of their N4X products. N4X is expected to enter risk production in the first half of 2023, according to TSMC.
“HPC is now TSMC’s fastest-growing business segment and we are proud to introduce N4X, the first in the ‘X’ lineage of our extreme performance semiconductor technologies,” said Dr. Kevin Zhang, senior vice president of Business Development at TSMC. “The demands of the HPC segment are unrelenting, and TSMC has not only tailored our ‘X’ semiconductor technologies to unleash ultimate performance but has also combined it with our 3DFabric™ advanced packaging technologies to offer the best HPC platform.”
With its comprehensive 3DFabricTM advanced packaging technologies and the TSMC Open Innovation Platform®, TSMC’s HPC platform not only provides performance-optimized silicon with N4X technology but also a broad design enablement platform with our ecosystem partners.
HPC products have the following unique attributes:
- Higher performance and usually higher frequencies
- Power consumption on the order of 100watts – approaching 1000watts in extreme cases
- Heavier utilization and a higher percentage of dynamic power in the power envelope
- More SRAMs (>1Gb) on SoC
- Higher memory bandwidth
- Higher speed IO connectivity
- Larger die sizes with challenges to manufacturability and yield