A10 Fusion chip

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), which builds Apple’s in-house designed A10 Fusion chip that powers the iPhone 7, has confirmed mass production of ten-nanometer chips for clients will kick off by year-end, beating Intel by almost a year in terms of high-performance silicon.

Chip maker Intel’s own ten-nanometer chips are due in second half of 2017.

Speaking at a tech symposium in the northern Taiwanese city of Hsinchu, TSMC CEO Mark Liu said that his company recently started research and development (R&D) work for a cutting-edge five-nanomenter process technology, Nikkei reported Friday.

The semiconductor foundry will also start trial production of seven-nanometer chips in small quantities in the first quarter of 2017. It’s recently started work on five-nanometer chips and has assigned 300 to 400 engineers to develop a three-nanometer technology.

Plus, TSMC is currently researching a two-nanometer process.

TSMC’s R&D budget increased substantially from $690 million in 2009 to $2.1 billion in 2015. For all of 2016, it’s allocated $10 billion for capital expenditure.

TSMC built the A9 chip along with Samsung and is exclusively producing the latest A10 Fusion chip for the iPhone 7 on its 16-nanometer process. The company is also rumored to have secured a contract to build ‘A11’ chips for 2017 iPhones.

Were Apple to swap out Intel in Macs for in-house designed CPUs based on iPhone and iPad chips, as it’s been suggested, TSMC’s should have its sophisticated manufacturing technology ready to make it happen and help Apple beat Intel at its own game.

Source: Nikkei

  • Rolf Bause

    10nm is really ridiculous. I’d never even thought they could really bring it down so low…

    • Hussain Alsanona

      Think of 2 nm then. Wow mind blowing to be honest

      • Rolf Bause

        Dude, when I went to middle school 80-90nm were the norm 😀 In the meanwhile they passed this limit where even the wave length of light was starting to get a problem (used for the etching process) and they now basically need to trick physics a little with the stencils, in order to even still get it to work. And we now surpassed all of this for a long time already and they still manage to make it thinner and thinner… that’s what I was mainly talking about 😀

  • armyk

    Custom made chips with 10nm in Macs? That would blow competitors away…

    • Ruturaj

      A 10nm mobile chip (what apple has) won’t be even near 4th generation 22nm i7.

      • armyk

        You know based on?

      • Ruturaj

        I don’t know how much powerful they will be, same as you don’t know if they will blow away competition. But I made a guess, given performance of current ARM processors, A10 chip and x86 chips.

      • armyk

        Well I am positive they can design top of the range ARM processor and if they can manufacture with 10nm, they will have advantage. Then it is just matter of scaling.

      • Ruturaj

        Sure I am positive they can design top of the range ARM processor and they will do it on 10nm. But ARM processors are not scalable, that’s why AMD have octa core processors but didn’t do as well as Intel’s dual core. But lets see.

  • eqHullabaloo

    While technically TSMC will have their 10nm process out before intel from what I understand TSMC’s version of 10nm process will be larger than intels 10nm process. What TSMC is calling 10nm will have poorer transistor density compared to what intel is calling 10nm.

    The reason I wanted to point this out is that you can’t compare the two directly. I don’t want to get all technical on exact details, but if you’re really curious someone else who’s more knowledgeable in wafer fabrication would be able to explain it.

  • mrgerbik

    TSMC process different then Intel’s. Size cant be compared directly