However, the initial N3 process is mainly for early customers with super investment ability and pursuit of new processes, such as Apple, but the limitations are also very strong, such as the late timing, the application is not wide enough.
However, after 3nm, TSMC will launch an upgraded version of N3E process next year, that is, 3nm Enhanced, to further improve performance, reduce power consumption, and expand the scope of applications, compared to N5 with the same performance and density of power consumption by 34%, the same power and density of performance by 18%, or can increase the transistor density by 60%.
The analysts at the Business Times believe that the N3E process will become the mainstay of production discussions among major manufacturers, including Apple’s iPhone 15 series A17 processor, the next generation of M3 processors, and AMD’s future Zen5, among others.
M3 is said to be used in products such as the MacBook Air, and Apple is likely to increase the display size of this model to improve cooling through stronger cooling solutions. Other potential products include a newer iPad Pro line, as well as a newer iMac, and possibly a future iPad Air. M3 will likely use 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores again, just like M2 and M1.
As a matter of industry practice, TSMC will test the performance and trial yields of the N3E process first this year, with mass production expected in the second half of 2023. Corelist+ has leaked an internal TSMC PPT showing that its N3E process is progressing very well, at least in terms of yield.
The PPT shows that TSMC’s next-generation N3E process yields exceeded expectations, with the average yield of N3E’s 256Mb SRAM at about 80%, mobile devices and HPC chips at about 80%, and ring oscillator yields even exceeding 92%.