TSMC, in a recent report to its shareholders, detailed that the company has started the research and development phase for 2nm process chipsets. The company is already mass-producing 5nm chipsets that that will be seen in Smartphones later this year. Additionally, TSMC has also announced that it will start the production of 3nm chipsets by 2021, before the prototypes are approved. But volume production will start in the second half of 2022.
Over the years, chipsets, like every other technology, have grown to become more sophisticated. For the uninitiated, the efficiency of a chipset relies on the number of transistors it houses. Hence, to incorporate more transistors on a single chip, manufacturers reduce the size of transistors every year. Labels like 7nm, 5nm, 3nm, etc. are indicators of the number of transistors being employed. For context, a 2nm process chipset will hold 3.5 times more transistors than the 7nm process chipsets. This will result in performance and efficiency increases.
Currently, the best processors are built on a 7 nm process, for example, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865. These chipsets are expected to be replaced by 5nm process chipsets later this year. The first smartphone to debut the next generation chipset will most likely be the iPhone 12 series.
TSMC’s only major competitor in the industry is Samsung. However, the Korean tech giant has not even started to mass-manufacture 5nm chips. Moreover, its 3nm chipsets have also been delayed due to the ongoing pandemic. Hence, TSMC is currently a lone player when it comes to next-generation chipsets.