TSMC starts pilot production of 3nm chips, likely to be used for future Apple Silicon

TSMC has started pilot production of 3nm chips at its Fab 18 in Southern Taiwan and plans to move the process, also known as N3, to volume production in the fourth quarter of next year, as per a new report by DigiTimes.

It had been previously reported that Apple Silicon in 2023 will be built on the 3nm process, while the second-generation Apple Silicon in 2022 will be built using an enhanced 5nm process. The benefits of the 3nm process would include higher performance, core count, and power efficiency. All these benefits will help Apple further push the envelope when it comes to performance per watt, a benchmark it always aims to improve on and currently leads the industry at.

M1 Max vs M1 Pro vs M1 3nm

3nm process on track for 2023

DigiTimes reports that the 3nm process will not only be available for Apple but also Intel, to manufacture new chips in 2023.

Apple is expected to use the 3nm process to bump up the core count on its chips to 40 cores for Macs alongside four dies, while the same process will also be used for A-series chips for iPhone and iPad.

Although the second-generation chips will use an enhanced version of the current 5nm process, the third-generation Apple Silicon will see a bigger jump with a bump up to 3nm process and 4 dies. This could give the new chips up to 40 cores, which would be far higher than what the current Apple Silicon chips have. M1 has an 8-core architecture while M1 Pro and M1 Max have 10 cores. 

Even though the 3nm process will move to volume production in the fourth quarter of 2022, we will not see them in Apple products until 2023, as per a recent report by The Information. This aligns perfectly with DigiTimes’ report that 3nm chips will start shipping to customers like Apple and Intel in the first quarter of 2023.

Whether Apple will be first to market with a 3nm chip is yet to be seen. As per current chips we have from Apple in Macs and iPhones, expect the 3nm chips to be M3 for Macs and iPad Pro, and A17 for iPhone and non-Pro iPad models.

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