The China Times reports that TSMC's upcoming 5nm process has already hit yields of 50%, meaning 50% of all processors yielded on a 5nm wafer are fully functional. The report also specifies that AMD's Zen 4 architecture will be fabbed on the 5nm process.
Although the yield rates have reportedly reached 50%, the other 50% of these dies are not totally broken but can be salvaged as processors with fewer cores enabled, for example. TSMC's 5nm is also entering risk production, which includes the very first wave of products that are expected to help iron out any kinks so TSMC can bring all of its 5nm capacity fully online.
The new 5nm node reportedly brings a 1.8x greater density over 7nm and 15% higher clock speeds at the same power, or reduce power consumption by 30% (meaning processor designers will have to choose one or a blend of both). This is not quite as good as the jump from 16nm to 7nm was, but as many are aware, silicon is reaching its limits rather soon, and we should expect density and power efficiency gains to slow down a little.
Two new processors, Apple's A14 and Hisilicon's new Kirin processor, have reportedly already been taped out on 5nm. The chips will supposedly be mass-produced in July. The China Times also points out AMD's Zen 4 CPUs will be based on 5nm. The node almost doubles density, so perhaps we might see a doubling in core count, though a 50% increase is more likely because 1.8x isn't quite 2x.
Zen 4 is, of course, quite a ways off, expected in 2021 at the earliest, and possibly even 2022. Since it is on a brand new node, it's easy to expect we will see some packaging difference between it and Zen 2/3. Perhaps AMD will increase the number of cores per die, or increase the number of dies and keep them all at eight cores each.
Meanwhile, Samsung and Intel (TSMC's only real competition), have been struggling to get out new nodes. Intel suffers the most and is still on its 2014 14nm process for the vast majority of its CPUs because its 10nm development was extremely troubled. Intel's 10nm process is finally live but the company only uses it for a handful of laptop CPUs, likely due to supply constraints.
Samsung is apparently going to manufacture Nvidia's upcoming 7nm GPUs, but that remains to be seen. It's not clear how well Samsung's 7nm process compares to TSMC's. TSMC certainly seems like the obvious winner today, but Intel isn't out of the race quite yet, as its highly anticipated 7nm process could bring the company back into the forefront of CPU manufacturing.
We can likely expect any processor sporting TSMC's upcoming 5nm process to be significantly ahead of any chip on an older process, though the lead won't be quite as pronounced as it used to be between a new node and an old node. Because of this, we can also expect that 5nm capacity will be in high demand just as 7nm is, so hopefully, TSMC has enough supply for the whole world to share.