There's something about scarcity that makes people go crazy. We shop at stores we don't usually visit just because they're going out of business, trample each other to make sure we get a Black Friday deal and go from strict dieters to chocolate-craving animals when we see the last piece of cake. Companies are no different, and it seems that everyone wants to get their hands on the 7nm chips that are coming out of TSMC.
TSMC hit a rough patch a few months back. The company announced in August 2018 that it could face production delays after a variant of WannaCry infected some of its servers. Then, in January it revealed that a chemical contamination at Fab 14B resulted in at least 10,000 defective wafers. TSMC had to cease production, investigate the extent of the issue and ultimately revise its earnings guidance in response.
But today's DigiTimes report indicated that demand for 7nm chips might help TSMC recover from those setbacks. The report claimed that, between HiSilicon and AMD "ramping up their wafer starts aggressively" and rising demand from Android smartphone makers, TSMC expects to see its 7nm manufacturing processes run at full capacity in the third quarter of 2019. All of this according to anonymous industry sources, of course.
Increased demand from AMD makes sense: the company revealed its first 7nm GPU, Radeon VII, earlier this year. It's also expected to reveal Navi GPUs sometime this year, and all signs point to the new architecture relying on TSMC's 7nm process. The company is rumored to be planning a reveal for E3 2019 in June or Computex 2019 in May, where CEO Lisa Su will be present the conference's first pre-keynote speech.
Not that AMD is the only company after 7nm chips. DigiTimes said TSMC's 7nm offering is expected to appear in "new-generation CPUs, GPUs, artificial intelligence (AI)-related solutions and server chips" throughout the year. Soon those companies will have another option: TSMC reportedly started volume production of chips using its 7nm-EUV process at the end of March, with shipments expected to kick off in the second half of 2019.