Total demand for semiconductors may drop somewhat in 2019, but key chip manufacturer TSMC sees increased demand for breakthrough processors thanks to the sale of early 5G devices, and is preparing to roll out more advanced technology "slightly" earlier than expected. It's the news from the company's latest quarterly revenue conference (via DigiTimes), where the TSMC said the new 5-nanometer (nm) chipmaking process will begin volume production in the first half of 2020, enabling the first 5nm chips to hit stores at this time next year.
TSMC started mass-producing 7nm chips just last year, so key customers Apple and Huawei both claimed they were "first" with the leading technology, even though Apple's A1
Instead of shifting all of the production from the still new 7nm process to the smaller 5nm technology, TSMC expands 7nm capacity to meet the growing demand, especially from manufacturers of 5G wireless devices. Company CFO Lora Ho expects strong demand from 5G smartphone and base station makers, but not enough to completely compensate for reducing demand for older, larger pre-5G parts. TSMC now produces chips for giants such as AMD and Intel, with Samsung as its biggest and most advanced competitor.
As one of TSMC's most aggressive customers, Apple has expected to use the TSMC team second-generation 7nm chips at the end of 2019 iPhones and iPads, shifting to 5nm at some point in 2020, and then moving to 3nm in 2022. In An industry where delays in chip production occur and can be devastating, TSMC has been remarkable at the goal of the process process.
Beyond being physically smaller than its 7nm predecessors, 5nm chips can provide greater efficiency and / or more processing capacity, depending on the needs of the chip designer. The 5nm process is expected to allow CPUs that have previously fitted the smartphones to shrink in wear like AR glasses and earphones while using smaller batteries and delivering previously unattainable experiences. It will also allow next year's 5G units to deliver as much or more power as current models while driving cooler, with less energy consumption.