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TSMC Tapes Out Second-Generation "7nm" Chip Using EUV, Will Begin Risk Production of "5nm" in April

Accepted submission by takyon at 2018-10-10 18:00:28

TSMC: First 7nm EUV Chips Taped Out, 5nm Risk Production in Q2 2019 []

Last week, TSMC made two important announcements concerning its progress with extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL). First up, the company has successfully taped out its first customer chip using its second-generation 7 nm process technology, which incorporates limited EUVL usage. Secondly, TSMC disclosed plans to start risk production of 5 nm devices in April.

TSMC initiated high-volume manufacturing of chips using its first generation 7 nm fabrication process (CLN7FF, N7) in April. N7 is based around deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography with ArF excimer lasers. By contrast, TSMC's second-generation 7 nm manufacturing technology (CLN7FF+, N7+) will use extreme ultraviolet lithography for four non-critical layers, mostly in a bid to speed up production and learn how to use ASML's Twinscan NXE step-and-scan systems for HVM. Factual information on the improvements from N7 to N7+ are rather limited: the new tech will offer a 20% higher transistor density (because of tighter metal pitch) and ~8% lower power consumption at the same complexity and frequency (between 6% and 12% to be more precise).

[...] After N7+ comes TSMC's first-generation 5 nm (CLN5FF, N5) process, which will use EUV on up to 14 layers. This will enable tangible improvements in terms of density, but will require TSMC to extensively use EUV equipment. When compared to TSMC's N7, N5 technology will enable TSMC's customers to shrink area of their designs by ~45% (i.e. transistor density of N5 is ~1.8x higher than that of N7), increase frequency by 15% (at the same complexity and power) or reduce power consumption by 20% power reduction (at the same frequency and complexity).

TSMC will be ready to start risk production of chips using its N5 tech in April, 2019. Keeping in mind that it typically takes foundries and their customers about a year to get from risk production to HVM, it seems like TSMC is on-track for mass production of 5 nm chips in Q2 2020, right in time to address smartphones due in the second half of 2020.

Tape-out []. Risk production = early production.

Previously: TSMC Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for "5nm" Fab, Production to Begin in 2020 []
TSMC Details Scaling/Performance Gains Expected From "5nm CLN5" Process []

Related: TSMC to Build 7nm Process Test Chips in Q1 2018 []
"3nm" Test Chip Taped Out by Imec and Cadence []
TSMC Will Make AMD's "7nm" Epyc Server CPUs []
GlobalFoundries Abandons "7nm LP" Node, TSMC and Samsung to Pick Up the Slack []

Original Submission