We reported late last year that TMSC started trial production for 3nm technology. The Taiwanese foundry is also preparing a more advanced version of the standard N3 (3nm) technique. There were reports in March that the technology, dubbed N3E, could arrive earlier. TSMC’s efforts seem to have paid off, as the company plans to start mass production much earlier.
N3E was originally mentioned in 2024. Now, this time frame has regressed to the second quarter of 2023. Judging by the current reports, efficiency in the TSMC N3E process is much higher than expected. The first customer for the new technology will again very likely be Apple. As you know, there is a tight bond between Apple and TSMC. In fact, Apple has great help in the development process of technologies.
However, both Intel and Qualcomm are said to be among the first 3nm customers. N3E technology is based on a reduced layer EUV process. But normally we will see N3 (3nm) based chips first.
We expect the start of 3nm production in the saadollar series later in the year. Initially, approximately 10 to 20 thousand wafers will be produced per month. When TSMC’s new factory is ready, approximately 25-35 thousand wafers are expected to be produced. Chips that benefit from N3E production will be released later.