TSMC is gradually moving towards the increasingly lower chip processes, which means, in the near future, we will soon see the smartphones with tremendous performance.
DigiTimes has revealed recently that TSMC has set off mass production of 7nm N7 + chips. This brand new chip possesses 10% better performance compared to the current 7nm. The company reported to have started mass production of 7nm chips and the volume is expected to increase by 150% in this year.
These new chips utilize ultraviolet photolithography (EUV) technology. This technology generally helps in designing the chips and placing components on more precise silicon wafers. The transistor density of N7 + is also 20% higher than N7 and saves 15% more of electricity.
The 7nm process also means that TSMC can put more transistors on the same space of the chipset. As a result, SoC is not only faster but also consumes less power.
Thus, the technology community can expect the emergence of 7nm N7+ smartphones in this year. The phone will be equipped with outstanding performance and better battery saving. Probably 2019 will be the start year of the 7nm chip before we move on to further processes.
In case you remember, the early iPhone launched in 2007 using 45nm process chips. From there, it obviously showed how much the chip industry has evolved over the past 12-13 years.
TSMC have started planning mass production of 5nm chips by 2020. The company has now shipped the equipment needed to produce 5nm chips at a new facility called Fab 18. They expected that the 5nm chip can work with conversion rate of 15% higher than 7nm.
Former Intel co-founder, Gordon Moore once made an assumption in 1965 that the number of transistors per square inch inside a circuit board will double every year. Since then, the technology community has believed that Moore’s law will only die when we reach the 7nm process.
And indeed, chip brand makers have managed to do that. They even want to break the record as they progress to lower processes like 5nm and the future will be 3nm. Recently, there are reports that TSMC is preparing to open Fab 18 facility to produce 3nm chips in the next few years.
So far, most industrial experts all believe that 5nm will be the limit. This will put an end to Moore’s law.
However, this does not mean the chip will not continue to improve its performance after the limit has been reached. Just as the process is getting smaller, the process of performance improvement will take longer, no longer than a year, but can last up to 2 years or more.
TSMC is currently one of the largest chip manufacturers in the world. The company specializes in producing multiple chips for partners. These partners included Apple A-series for Apple, Kirin for Huawei and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip line.