TSMC to Produce 5nm Chips for Cryptocurrency Mining

(Image credit: Bitmain)

As Bitcoin and Ethereum reach record-high prices, miners can increase their spending on hardware and companies developing mining ASICs waste no time rolling out new models. Bitmain, a designer of mining accelerators, has reportedly placed an order with TSMC to produce an ASIC using the foundry's latest N5 fabrication process (5nm).  

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is expected to start making Bitmain ASICs using its N5 technology starting the third quarter of the year and 'ramp up' its output for Bitmain substantially in Q1 2022, reports DigiTimes. It is unclear how high demand for mining ASICs made using a leading-edge manufacturing technology will be, but it may well reduce TSMC's ability to supply other chips that are designed for its N5 fabrication process. 

TSMC's N5 manufacturing technology offers industry-leading transistor density and power efficiency, just what the doctor ordered for mining ASICs. But these advantages come at a price. So far TSMC's N5 process has been adopted by Apple and Huawei, two companies selling high-end smartphones, tablets, and PCs. For them, SoC prices are not as important as for companies selling chips (what they sell are $1,000+ gadgets, not silicon), so they can afford to be early adopters of TSMC's advanced technologies. MediaTek, a mobile SoC company, is projected to adopt N5 technology shortly too, albeit for its top-of-the-range mobile processor.  

As it turns out, Bitmain is a yet another company that can afford to develop an N5 design and order its production at TSMC. There is no information about Bitmain's 5nm chip, but it is logical to expect the company to tangibly increase hash rate of the ASIC when compared to existing offerings. 

Bitmain's latest Antminer S19j miner has a hash rate of 90 TH/s as well as a power consumption of 3100W. The price of the unit is $5,017.

Anyone interested in doing some crypto mining at home, can get started by checking out our tutorials on how to mine Ethereum and how to optimize your GPU for mining, along with our list of the best mining GPUs.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.