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TSMC Celebrates Making Over a Billion 7nm Chips

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

In a little over two years, TSMC has produced enough functional 7nm chips to cover 13 Manhattan city blocks. That translates to one billion 7nm chips overall, a milestone that TSMC passed in July, according to a new post on the company’s blog.

TSMC began producing 7nm chips in April 2018, and has since “manufactured 7nm chips for well over 100 products from dozens of customers.” These customers include AMD, Apple, Qualcomm, and at least until September, HiSilicon. To compare TSMC to another major chipmaker, Intel announced last month that it is delaying its 7nm chips “until late 2022 or early 2023.”

Each of TSMC’s 7nm chips also has at least one billion transistors inside it, meaning that the company has made more than one quintillion 7nm transistors overall.

Part of what allowed TSMC to hit this goal was the EUV lithography technology it introduced this generation. EUV lithography uses “extreme ultraviolet light” to print nanometer-scale features more easily. Creating EUV light requires hitting small droplets of tin with pulses from a powerful source laser to turn them into plasma, a difficult process that TSMC was the first company to bring into commercial production.

The company is now applying the technology it pioneered with its 7nm process in making 5nm chips, with orders confirmed to be coming from companies like AMD and Nvidia. It is also looking to open new 5nm fabs, such as a fab planned to come to Arizona as early as late 2023.

  • spongiemaster
    Admin said:
    A new post on TSMC’s website pulls back the curtain a bit about the company’s 7nm process.

    TSMC Celebrates Making Over a Billion 7nm Chips : Read more
    In related news. Intel's process engineering team has announced they have managed to successfully boil water in a pot.
    Reply
  • linuxdude
    the article is not very well researched ...

    | Intel announced last month that it is delaying its 7nm chips
    | “until late 2022 or early 2023.”

    TSMC 7nm ~= Intel 10nm

    | Part of what allowed TSMC to hit this goal was the EUV lithography
    | technology it introduced this generation.

    Most of those chips most likely have been manufacturered without EUV. N7 and N7P do not use EUV even on a single layer.
    N7+ uses EUV, however it was introduced a lot later and still (to my knowledge) is not used for very high volume products (snapdragon 865, AMD Zen2, and so on are all N7 or N7P).
    Reply
  • samopa
    linuxdude said:
    TSMC 7nm ~= Intel 10nm

    How come 7nm equals 10 nm ? Please elaborate
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    spongiemaster said:
    In related news. Intel's process engineering team has announced they have managed to successfully boil water in a pot.
    Meh TSMCs node is limited to 3.9Ghz all core before needing 1.5Vcore and water cooling, to get up to the 10900k stock all core of 4.9Ghz ryzen needs liquid nitrogen,intel wouldn't even bother to release such a crappy chip...which is what they are doing.
    Reply
  • sstanic
    samopa said:
    How come 7nm equals 10 nm ? Please elaborate
    Not mathematically but in terms of process node names. I'm not particularly well informed, but it goes something like this: those names have become total marketing bs. Intel named theirs 10nm so Samsung said ours will be 8nm, and TSMC then said well our has to sound better so we'll name it 7nm, although they are roughly the same density. There are several relevant ways to compare process nodes, number of same-type transistors per mm2 for example. So TSMC's N7 node is roughly equivalent to what Intel calls their 10nm node. When Samsung went to develop theirs, they named it 8nm, and then improved it, and again, so now their 3rd iteration of "8nm" is called 5nm, although it is still roughly comparable to Intel's 10nm node. Marketing..

    Feel free to correct me, I really don't follow it closely to know all the details.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    linuxdude said:


    Most of those chips most likely have been manufacturered without EUV. N7 and N7P do not use EUV even on a single layer.
    N7+ uses EUV, however it was introduced a lot later and still (to my knowledge) is not used for very high volume products (snapdragon 865, AMD Zen2, and so on are all N7 or N7P).

    I think you may have limited this N7 tech to just AMD. AMD chips are still produced using 7nm DUV if I am not mistaken. The fact is that ARM SOCs are the primary driver for the billion chip milestone. While AMD is selling very well, I don't believe they contributed to this in a significant way as compared to the likes of Apple, Qualcomm and Huawei.

    In my opinion, the number of 7nm chips produced by DUV and EUV should be quite close.
    Reply
  • Conahl
    TerryLaze said:
    Meh TSMCs node is limited to 3.9Ghz all core before needing 1.5Vcore and water cooling, to get up to the 10900k stock all core of 4.9Ghz ryzen needs liquid nitrogen,intel wouldn't even bother to release such a crappy chip...which is what they are doing.
    oh ? tell that to my 3900X that is currently running @ 4250 mhz, all core, according to cpuz and ryzen master, cpuz says its using 1.240v,and ryzen master says its using 1.099 volts. this is with a Noctua NH-d15, and under load, 68C on all the cores. if any cpu needs liquid nitrogen to run at those clocks, its the intel chips.
    Reply
  • drivinfast247
    TerryLaze said:
    Meh TSMCs node is limited to 3.9Ghz all core before needing 1.5Vcore and water cooling, to get up to the 10900k stock all core of 4.9Ghz ryzen needs liquid nitrogen,intel wouldn't even bother to release such a crappy chip...which is what they are doing.
    Luckily it doesn't have to get up that high to do the same amount of work. And it does it using less power.
    Reply
  • Don Frenser
    spongiemaster said:
    In related news. Intel's process engineering team has announced they have managed to successfully boil water in a pot.
    The pot placed on a processor of course OC-ed
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    TerryLaze said:
    Meh TSMCs node is limited to 3.9Ghz all core before needing 1.5Vcore and water cooling, to get up to the 10900k stock all core of 4.9Ghz ryzen needs liquid nitrogen,intel wouldn't even bother to release such a crappy chip...which is what they are doing.
    How do you know it's the process holding back the clock speeds and not the architecture?
    Reply