TSMC has lost some ground in the past year because of Samsung’s success at the 14nm process node, but the Taiwan-based foundtry is confident about its 10nm development and more advanced process nodes, and aiming to regain lead with them.
TSMC has just had a good quarter, with its revenues increased 8% on year. They’ll leverage extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography to produce at 5nm which is scheduled for 2020 with lower manufacturing costs and simplized process.
5nm is far, and it’s more realistic to talk about 10nm and 7nm for now. TSMC says they’ver already finished tape-out for three clients on 10nm process. They didn’t mention who, but there’re not many who can afford 10nm. Maybe Apple (A10), MediaTek(X30) and HiSilicon (new-gen Kirin)? TSMC expects to start mass-production of 10nm chips from Q1 2017.
As for 7nm, the company has advanced the 256Mb SRAM chip and everything is going well. Hopefully they’re taping out 7nm in the first half of 2017, while the volume production will kick off in 2018.