While they are frequently referred to as “4nm” and “5nm,” TSMC launched the N4 node as an extension of their N5 node last year. Later this year, according to the company’s expectations, it will begin shipping N3-based semiconductors.
Some upcoming iPads are said to utilize the N3 node. The upgraded N3E node, on the other hand, provides the foundation for the upcoming significant upgrade to Apple silicon, which will boost performance and efficiency while also being more cost-effective.
According to Nikkei Asia, the Apple A17 will employ the N3E node and will begin mass production in the second part of 2019. N3E is also anticipated to be used in the next M3 Mac chip series.
The current Apple A16 chip, which is only used in the iPhone 14 Pro pair, is manufactured on the same N4 node as the Dimensity 9000/9000+ and Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. The A15 (N5) from last year is used in the stock iPhone 14 pair.
Analysts predict that the situation will be similar next year, with the A17 processor being held for the iPhone 15 Pro models and a less technologically advanced node being used by non-Pro phones (the A16 chip is the likely pick).
Although TSMC has created “FinFlex” for the N3 and N3E nodes, it should be noted that these nodes (N5, N4, and N3) continue to use FinFet designs. Customers will be able to adjust the chip speed vs. chip size ratio to suit their needs as a result. With TSMC’s N2 node, gate-all-around designs (based on nanosheets) will be available.
Samsung has begun to market chips made on their 3nm node, and these processors use a Gate-All-Around architecture. Three insiders allege that the order has been postponed until 2024 from the original agreement that Intel had made to produce some 3nm chips at TSMC’s foundries this year or early next year.
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