TSMC to start 3nm chip production for M2 Pro ahead of A17 for iPhone 15

Apple will be the first to use TSMC’s new 3nm chips for its M2 Pro processor, expected to be available with new Macs later this year. Previous reports suggested the manufacturer would delay production of this technology, but it has now reiterated that the 3nm expansion will maintain the original plan.

According to Taiwan’s Commercial Times (via MacRumors), TSMC is preparing 3nm chips for a number of companies. Although Apple will be the first to take advantage of the technology, Intel is also planning to expand its use in the second half of next year to produce chips in processors, including Super Micro, Huida, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Broadcom, and more, as revealed by industry insiders to the publication.

External environmental variables such as the Russian-Ukrainian war and global inflation have led to weak demand for consumer electronics such as smartphones and laptops, which may lead to a subsequent slowdown in demand for data centers and high-performance computing (HPC), and the industry has excessive inventory in the semiconductor production chain. Whether it can be effectively eliminated in the first half of next year is still doubtful, but based on past historical experience, downturns usually cause semiconductor companies to speed up the development of new chips.

The report suggests Apple’s M2 Pro chip will be the first product to feature this 3nm technology and will be available in the second half of this year. After introducing the M2 chip with the 13-inch MacBook Pro and redesigned MacBook Air early this year, the company is expected to unveil new variants of this processor with a new M2 Pro, M2 Max, and even M2 Extreme variants.

Recent reports indicate that Apple will hold an October event dedicated to Macs and iPads. For the Mac side, the company could unveil new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro options with M2 Pro and M2 Max processors. A new Mac mini and Mac Pro could also have these new chips as well.

What’s interesting about this report is that Apple will jump from the 5nm technology with the A15 chip – and most likely A16 as well – to a 3nm A17 processor. The same would be worth it for the future iPad and Mac M3 chips.

TCT also gives some context regarding Intel competition:

Although Intel intends to compete for business opportunities in the foundry market, after its own processor adopts the chip design of small chips (chiplet), the built-in graphics chip or computing chip will be mass-produced using TSMC’s 3nm process in the second half of next year. , and Intel’s Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), Programmable Logic Gate Array (FPGA), etc. will also use TSMC’s 3nm chips in the next year and the year after.

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