According to a report quoting semiconductor industry sources, TSMC has trouble with its 3nm process yields. According to DigiTimes in Taiwan, if the 3nm yield problem persists, many customers may switch to the 5nm production node. Furthermore, TSMC’s issues may impact the product roadmaps of some of the PC industry’s biggest brands, such as AMD and Nvidia.
It’s critical to approach the report with caution. Although the insiders may be right, TSMC has yet to confirm any N3 delays openly. It has stated, on the contrary, that it is “on track with good progress.” The critical rumour in the source article is that TSMC is having trouble achieving sufficient yields with its 3nm FinFET technologies. It reveals that TSMC has “continuously changed” its 3nm offerings, implying that the foundry is trying to reach a yield sweet spot (the percentage of chips that are not faulty). N3E, a lower-cost version of TSMC’s 3nm manufacturing technology, was introduced a year after N3 and startled industry watchers by arriving a year later.
N3B processors are also made by TSMC for some clients, depending on design and pricing limitations. Despite TSMC’s process mentioned above disputes and “continuous adjustment,” insiders believe yields are still lower than projected.
Some TSMC customers are considering rejigging plans, which involves revising their roadmaps due to the 3nm family difficulties. In the coming months, customers such as Apple and Intel have also paid a high price to obtain N3 process chips. Other partners, such as AMD, must not have felt the need to make such large pre-payments to get the most from TSMC’s yield concerns.
According to the DigiTimes article, AMD is one of the most important customers of TSMC’s 7nm family, including N7 and N6 process manufacturing. AMD has only recently begun to transition parts to N6, such as the Ryzen 6000 line of laptop processors. Newer GPUs will be based on N6 output as well.
The Ryzen 7000 series desktop CPUs and the Genoa and Bergamo server processors will all be based on the Zen 4 architecture and manufactured by TSMC at 5nm. TSMC will designate the 5nm process family as N5 and N4 processes as a reminder. For Zen 5 and RDNA 4, AMD planned to move to TSMC 3nm.
Nvidia was also referenced in the article. The green team stated that they would be returning to TSMC later this year to use one of their 5nm processes for the RTX 40-series GPUs after paying “billions of dollars” to secure this production allocation.