The Taiwanese foundries are already building a new R&D center for 2 nm technologies and beyond in Hsinchu, which should be ready some time in 2021. The exact timeline for the 2 nm volume production is not yet known, but TSMC reports that it has been collaborating with some of its customers on the development of this advanced node. Market analysts claim that Apple will be first to launch 2 nm SoCs thanks to a five-year production deal with TSMC.
Apart from its plans for the 5 nm, 4 nm and 3 nm nodes, TSMC also revealed new information regarding the future of its 2 nm nodes during the online technology symposium streamed on August 25.
TSMC reports that it has just begun constructing the research and development center, which will be focusing on technologies for the 2 nm nodes and beyond in Hsinchu Baoshan. This new center should be ready in 2021 and will become the company’s main production site for all technologies beyond 2 nm. TSMC already invested more than NT$600 billion into this project and the new facilities are expected to accommodate at least 10,000 new employees.
Additionally, TSMC mentioned that it has been working closely with certain customers on the development of the 2 nm node, and market observers believe that one of the main customers involved in this process is Apple. AMD could also be involved, but market analysts point out that Apple will eventually become more important than AMD, as the Cupertino company is planning to design its own ARM-based laptop processors and advanced integrated / discrete GPUs.
Since Apple is fabless, it usually collaborates with TSMC’s and Samsung’s fabs in order to produce the SoCs needed for all the iPhone and iPad products. However, the new plans to ditch Intel’s CPUs on all of its laptop and desktop products, together with all the hints at future GPU lineups suggest that Apple has chosen TSMC to be the main chip supplier, and, according to market analysts, it looks like Samsung is out of the picture for at least 5 years.
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Bogdan Solca, 2020-08-26 (Update: 2020-08-26)