Questionable Report Says AMD's Ryzen 4000 CPUs Will Be Built on TSMC's 5nm+

AMD Ryzen 3000-Series Processors
(Image credit: AMD)

Back in January, news hit that TSMC was investing heavily in its 5nm process, and the latest report from DigiTimes appears to suggest that those efforts will soon pay off. 

The report claims that TSMC will push launch volume production of products on its 5nm Plus FinFET process to Q4 2020, and that we can believe. However, the report also claims that AMD's next-generation of CPUs, the Ryzen 4000 Vermeer series that comes with the Zen 3 architecture, will be built on this node. But we're not so sure. 

As it currently stands, TSMC's 5nm orders were already full with orders for mobile chips for Apple and Huawei (though that deal currently hangs up in the air), and 5nm production was reportedly already fully booked with Apple having reserved two-thirds of TSMC's 5nm capacity.

At today's Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference AMD CEO Lisa Su responded to a question about the report, saying, "I think 5nm is an important node, and one that we will use quite heavily in our roadmap. I'm not ready to talk about timing yet, but I will say that Zen 4 is deep in design, and we are very collaborative with TSMC. The way to think about it is, the process nodes usually start with mobile, and mobile is usually a simpler process from the standpoint of the performance it is trying to get. [..] 5nm will be important for Zen 4, as well as our GPU roadmap, will be using 5nm, but we'll talk about timing as we get a little bit closer." 

Su did not explicitly state that 5nm wouldn't come to its Zen 3 designs, but her statement implies that AMD will continue to execute on its public roadmap that places the 5nm debut with the Zen 4 architecture.

(Image credit: AMD)

Of course, it's also been reported that TSMC dropped the orders from Huawei due to the US-China tensions. Therefore it's possible that TSMC may be looking for another customer to fill up the now-remaining 5nm production slots.

We don't believe that with 5nm investments having started at the beginning of this year that TSMC will be ready to take on a new line of AMD's processors at 5nm within the same year -- the process normally matures with mobile processors before moving on to PC processors.

Moreover, even AMD has stated that the upcoming Zen3 CPUs will be based on the 7nm process, and we doubt that the company would push itself and its manufacturing partner TSMC through a roadmap change to 5nm this close to the launch -- AMD plans to release Zen 3-based CPUs by the end of the year.

DigiTimes states that AMD did not comment on the rumors.

Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • Rdslw
    that's a fanboy dream or blue nightmare. Probably too hardcore to be true. Like 5nm base and 5+ for refresh 5 series is something I more reasonable unless apple did buy ALL OF IT, and they really had to either take 5+ or stay at 7.
  • Makaveli
    Agreed boss this is highly unlikely.
  • gg83
    I think I read something about Apple cutting some its next gen process orders from TSMC. That would make even more 5nm available to other clients maybe. My interpretation of what Sue said was maybe we will see some mobile 5nm chips. So they would be called 5000? or 4000+?
  • InvalidError
    Makaveli said:
    Agreed boss this is highly unlikely.
    I'm thinking someone must have got Zen 4 and Ryzen 4000 (Zen 3) confused. Wouldn't be the first time and won't be the last that someone gets thrown off by the numbering offset between the two.
  • JayNor
    That is a strange recount of their history. I don't recall AMD mobile going to 7nm first. I believe the new Renoir APUs are shipping 7nm a year behind their 7nm GPUs.

    With that history, wouldn't you expect them to introduce 5nm on GPUs first?
  • mdd1963
    IF (and that's a huge 'if', at that) it were true, then the odds of it shipping in Sept (of this year) just fell to near '0'....
  • MasterMadBones
    My question to Tom's hardware is why they are reporting on rumours that they themselves think are questionable to begin with? Tom's Hardware is not a rumour mill medium like Wccftech or Moore's Law Is Dead.
  • hannibal
    Only sensible reason would be to put next gen mobile chip to 5nm to really irritate the Intel... Otherwise, this is just bull...
  • Avro Arrow
    I don't believe this for a second. If it were true, it would have been leaked LONG before now. Zen 3 is supposed to be released this year sometime and there's no way that they had time to do this. This sounds like FUD to me.