Apple chip supplier says Moore’s law still holds true

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Apple A14 processor
The A14 won‘t be out until 2020, but TSMC explains why it’ll be plenty fast.
CGI: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Gordon Moore famously predicted back in 1965 that the number of transistors in a chip would double every 2 years. This held true for decades but there’s pessimism if it can continue.

TSMC, the company that’s produced every iPhone and iPad chip for years, disagrees. It’s loaded with optimism about the future of processor design.

Apple chips will continue to get faster and smaller

Godfrey Cheng, TSMC’s marketing head, wrote “Some people believe that Moore’s Law is dead because they believe it is no longer possible to continue to shrink the transistor any further.” He then responds with ways his company is working to make processor components even smaller.

This Taiwan-based company is already producing A12 chips with a 7 nanometer process, and this fall’s A13 is expected to use an improved version of that. TSMC will be ready for volume chip production using a 5nm process in early 2020.

And Cheng brought up his company’s work on further improving the N5 process to create “the world’s highest transistor density and offer the fastest performance.”

TSMC using novel designs too

TSMC, once known as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, is also doing pioneer work on packaging processors and memory together, as decreasing the distance between the CPU and the memory increases performance.

And this company’s engineers are exploring entirely new ways to create processors. Cheng points out “One possible future of great density improvements is to allow the stacking of multiple layers of transistors in something we call Monolithic 3D Integrated Circuits. You could add a CPU on top of a GPU on top of an AI Edge engine with layers of memory in between.”

Cheng comments from blog post is titled Moore’s Law is not Dead. In it, the executive promises “I can safely state that TSMC has many years of pioneering and innovation ahead of us where we will continue to shrink the individual transistor and continue to improve density.”

This company’s track record for consistent improvement in its processors is one of the reasons there have been calls to dump Intel and switch Apple’s Macs to chips made by TSMC.