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According to a report published in Taiwanese media, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has received multiple orders for its 3nm (3nm) chip manufacturing technology. TSMC is expected to accelerate 3nm production this half of this year, and the technology was at the center of controversy earlier this month when it was announced that the manufacturing process would be delayed due to Intel Corporation design changes relating to its products. TSMC denied the report and said its process technologies were proceeding as planned, and now the Taiwanese publication DigiTimes reports that the company has sourced orders from several different companies to manufacture its products using advanced technology.
The biggest tech companies flock to the 3nm TSMC process, says the Taiwanese press
The DigiTimes report cites sources from an IC design company to provide details of orders that TSMC may have received for the 3nm process. Chipmakers have to rely on a solid order list for their new processes, as high investment and setup costs can only be recovered after a large number of semiconductor wafers have been produced. The machines used for advanced chip manufacturing are costly to run, and too few orders often result in unused capacity, which in turn costs the chip manufacturer more money than the profit it can make.
It also caused some controversy when Samsung Electronic’s Korean chip maker Samsung Foundry announced it would be mass-producing 3nm processors earlier this year. Following the decision, widely viewed as an attempt by Samsung to gain an advantage over TSMC, there were also questions about potential orders the company might have received for its products. One such order was confirmed from a Chinese company, but the details of the others remained unclear.
DigiTimes reports that TSMC has received 3nm orders from various companies, the leading of which are the consumer technology giant Cupertino, California, Apple, Inc, and the Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker Intel Corporation. Intel’s 3nm collaboration with TSMC has caught media attention, and the latest on this front claims the company has ditched the 3nm process for some of its products.
It also reports that, in addition to Intel and Apple, Taiwan-based MediaTek, NVIDIA, Broadcom, AMD and Qualcomm have placed orders for 3nm products. If this is true, it will give TSMC a strong advantage over Samsung as the company will be able to rapidly expand 3nm production and gain a large market share.
DigiTimes adds that Qualcomm is believed to be engaging Samsung in 3nm chips as well, as the company prefers to diversify its suppliers and has other business considerations that should also be kept in mind when dealing with Samsung. Qualcomm is the world’s leading manufacturer of smartphone processors and competes with Samsung on this front as well, with the Korean company’s Exynos processors also targeting the same market as Qualcomm’s products.
Samsung and TSMC’s 3nm technologies are different from each other because they use different transistor designs. TSMC has chosen to stick to traditional FinFET technology in its products, while Samsung has overtaken the advanced GaaFET technology which theoretically provides excellent performance due to its high electrical conductivity.