The N3 (3nm-class) family of manufacturing methods from TSMC offers a variety of advantages in terms of performance and power, but wide adoption is hampered by the extremely high costs of the foundry’s initial N3 node. To pique the interest of chip designers, the business is reportedly planning to cut its bids for 3nm manufacture, according to a report from MyDrivers.
TSMC’s 3nm Pricing Has Forced Several Buyers to Look for Alternatives
However, it’s likely that TSMC’s production costs for its N3E process will be lower than those for its first N3 despite the fact that any published N3 figures and prices at this stage should be regarded as rumours. The cost of production on other N3-class nodes, such as N3P, N3S, and N3X, is yet to be determined by the firm. Although this won’t happen fast, decreasing the cost of 3nm manufacture will draw more users to these nodes.
Apple is said to be the sole firm using TSMC’s original N3 manufacturing technology (also known as N3B), as the company is the largest customer ready to adopt cutting-edge nodes before others. However, using N3 is an expensive technology. According to China Renaissance, N3 makes considerable use of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography for up to 25 layers, and each EUV scanner now costs between $150 million and $200 million, depending on configuration.
TSMC must increase the cost of production using its N3 process and its successors in order to amortise fabs furnished with such production tools. TSMC is rumoured to be charging as much as $20,000 per N3 wafer, up from $16,000 per N5 wafer. While such estimates depend on a variety of variables, the main conclusion is that chip production is becoming more and more expensive.
Chip designers are rethinking how they construct sophisticated designs and use cutting-edge nodes since higher prices translate into reduced earnings for businesses like AMD, Broadcom, MediaTek, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm.