TSMC’s 3nm chipset will be expensive, forcing partners to raise product prices

According to a report from DigiTimes , it seems that TSMC’s 3nm wafers will be very expensive, which will affect the cost of next generation CPUs and GPUs.

The report claims that TSMC will significantly increase the prices of its 3nm wafers due to its dominance in the chip manufacturing industry and the lack of current competition in the 3nm process market. A chart showing the price of TSMC wafers indicates a 60% increase from 7nm to 5nm wafers. Now that TSMC is using the 3nm process, wafer prices are predicted to top $20,000 , meaning the next generation of CPUs and GPUs will undoubtedly cost more.

According to reports, the Apple A17 Bionic will be mass-produced using TSMC ‘s N3E process , which is an upgrade from the N3 design, resulting in better performance and greater power efficiency. An SoC that can run on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra can unfortunately cost more than the production of the A16 Bionic . You might be able to estimate the price of the new chipset using the fact that Apple spent twice as much on the A16 Bionic as it did on the A15 Bionic, most likely due to the switch from 5nm to 4nm .

Apple A16 and M2 | Apple via Macrumors

TSMC currently counts AMD and NVIDIA as one of its main customers, along with Apple and others. The cost of every part of NVIDIA GPUs has undoubtedly increased. In terms of cost, the RTX 4090 is 10-15% more expensive than the RTX 3090 , and the RTX 4080 is about 50% more expensive. It was also stated that the NVIDIA CEO traveled to Taiwan to meet with TSMC officials to discuss in advance the procurement of 3nm wafers for their next GPU portfolio.

AMD has managed to balance the cost by bundling multiple nodes across their devices. The Ryzen , Radeon , and EPYC product lines use chiplets and 5nm and 6nm technologies to reduce overall costs associated with monolithic dies. For its upcoming Meteor Lake and Arrow Lake tGPUs, Intel will also use TSMC N5 and N3 production nodes.

TSMC “FinFlex” 3nm Process Node | TSMS

However, this dependence on TSMC ensures that the semiconductor maker will continue to be in a strong position and be able to charge more due to its technical advantage over competitors. Competitor Samsung has also announced that it will mass-produce its own 3nm (GAP) node by 2024 , however things do not seem promising at the moment with yields of less than 20% and there are other issues with Samsung’s next generation node.

This indicates that chip prices are likely to continue to rise in terms of costs, and we should not expect this trend to change until another competitor emerges at the same level as TSMC.

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