TSMC ready to start 3nm production as chip demand weakens • The Register

Taiwanese chip giant TSMC is set to begin volume production of 3nm silicon within weeks amid warnings that demand for semiconductors is weakening as Korean companies report the first fall in shipments in three years.

TSMC has announced that production of 3nm semiconductors is scheduled to start in September, according to various reports. The company’s CEO, CC Wei, made the announcement to attendees at a technology forum in Hsinchu this week Nikkei Asiawho added that he also said inflation and ongoing supply chain difficulties were affecting TSMC’s ability to build new manufacturing facilities.

Despite these hurdles, the company says it now builds at least five factories a year, while it only built an average of two a year between 2017 and 2019.

Construction on a TSMC fabrication facility in Arizona, which will produce chips using the 5nm process, was recently completed, although it is not expected to start semiconductor production until 2024.

TSMC’s 3nm technology (N3) is said to offer up to a 70 percent increase in logic density compared to the existing 5nm process (N5), according to the company, with a speed improvement of up to 15 percent with the same performance or a performance reduction of up to 30 percent with the same speed.

The first customer for TSMC’s 3nm production line is expected to be Apple, which will also be one of the first customers for the company’s 2nm (N2) production process. Details TSMC announced in Juneand with which production is expected to begin in 2025.

Korean rival Samsung announced earlier this year that it had already started Manufacture of chips with a proprietary 3nm manufacturing processalthough there has been speculation that Sammy was treating the initial production batches as a dry run and does not expect yields to be high enough to qualify for full scale production.

TSMC said earlier this year that was by design Invest up to $44 billion into expanding its production capacity in 2022 in anticipation that strong demand for chips would continue, but there have been signs for several months that demand is now easing due to inflation hitting consumer spending and other factors.

This week, Korean chipmakers reported the first drop in shipments in nearly three years, according to Bloomberg. Figures from Korea’s National Bureau of Statistics showed semiconductor shipments fell 22.7 percent in July from the same month last year, while June figures showed a 5.1 percent rise.

That’s what research firm TrendForce said weeks ago pricing The memory market is weakening, with demand falling in the PC and mobile sectors, while shipments are also slowing as many customers still need to clear inventory.

Gartner also predicted that the Global semiconductor sales growth will slow this yearand predicts a market decline in sales of 2.5 percent for 2023. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/08/31/tsmc_poised_to_begin_3nm/ TSMC ready to start 3nm production as chip demand weakens • The Register

Laura Coffey

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