Apple chip-maker on track to start building more advanced CPUs

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Apple M1 chip
Will Apple be the first to offer a 3-nanometer chipset?
Photo: iFixit

Apple chip supplier TSMC this week completed construction on a new plant that will manufacture 3-nanometer chipsets. The company hopes to start production during the second half of 2022.

Apple and Samsung are currently the only two companies shipping commercial 5-nanometer chipsets. Apple’s include the A14 Bionic found inside iPhone 12 and iPad Air 4, and the new M1 chip for Mac.

This cutting-edge manufacturing process allows the A14 and M1 to be faster and more efficient than previous Apple chipsets. But an even more advanced manufacturing process isn’t far off, thanks to TSMC.

TSMC readies new 3nm chip plant

The Taiwanese company, officially known as Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, this week completed the structure for a new chipset plant, according to a Digitimes report.

“TSMC has held a ceremony marking the completion of the plant structure for its 3nm fab at the Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP),” it reads. “The foundry house is expected to kick off commercial production at the 3nm fab in 2022.”

TSMC, which is the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, initially planned to kick off trial production by the end of this year, sources say. However, COVID-19 is said to have caused disruptions that forced the company to push back those plans to 2021.

TSMC to stick with FinFET … for now

It is believed TSMC will continue to use FinFET (fin field-effect transistor) designs for its 3nm chips. Samsung, which recently confirmed a $116 billion investment in its own 3nm chipsets, will instead switch from FinFET to GAA (gate-all-around) designs.

TSMC is expected to use GAA designs, which are thought to be more efficient than FinFET, for future 2-nanometer chipsets. But those aren’t expected to enter mass-production until 2024 at the earliest.

What does all of this mean for Apple fans? Well, it’s likely Apple’s chipsets will continue to be manufactured using a 5nm processor for at least another year, with its first 3nm chip possibly set for late 2022 or early 2023.

Via: Android Headlines