Apple’s A17 chip will be manufactured using TSMC’s new generation 3nm process


Last year, TSMC unveiled the N4 process node as an enhanced version of its N5 process. These process nodes are often known as 4nm and 5nm. But these 2 processes are still classified in the same family and it is expected that the Taiwanese company will start producing chips using the next generation process node known as N3 by the end of this year.

According to reports, the N3 process node will be used to produce the chips used in some future iPad models. However, the next major leap forward for Apple Silicon’s production chips will come using the advanced N3E node. Using this process will help improve chip efficiency and productivity while reducing manufacturing costs.


According to Nikkei Asia, Apple’s A17 chip will be manufactured using the N3E process. Also, mass production of this chip will begin in the second six months of 2023. The future series of Mac chips called Apple M3 will probably be produced using the same process.

Apple’s latest A-series chip called A16 is based on the 4nm (N4) process node. This chip is exclusively used in iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. MediaTek’s Dimensity 9000 and Dimensity 9000+ chips and Qualcomm’s 1st generation Snapdragon 8 Plus are also manufactured using the same process. iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are equipped with Apple’s flagship chip from last year called A15; A chipset manufactured using the 5nm (N5) process.

The process of evolution of process nodes of TSMC company

Analysts believe that we will see a similar situation next year. Therefore, next year, Apple will use the A17 chip for the iPhone 15 Pro series, and the non-Pro models will use a chip with an older process node (the A16 chip is one of the possible options). It should be noted that process nodes N4, N5 and N3 still use FinFET designs. However, TSMC will use the newly developed FinFlex design for its N3 and N3E nodes.

Evolution of TSMC process nodes including N3, N4 and N3E

This allows customers to change the balance between speed and chip size based on their needs. TSMC will use a Gate-All-Around (GAA) design based on nanosheets in its 2nm process node called N2.

Different transistor configurations for the N3E process and their comparison with an N5 chip

Samsung is now moving chips manufactured using its native 3nm process node. This node uses Gate-All-Around design for transistors. Intel previously signed a contract with the Taiwanese company to produce 3nm chips at TSMC factories this year or early next year. But now 3 news sources claim that the order has been delayed until 2024.

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Adib Zahedi is the CEO and Founder of He has nearly a decade of experience in IT, including two years spent working on a Youtube Chennal. He is also an author and writes articles for Has articles include tutorials and covers everything from Windows PCs to smartphone's software.

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