According to new information, 3nm chip production performance of TSMC is around 80%, which means that out of 100 chips created from a wafer, 80 pass quality control. This is a really high percentage, so much so that it is already economically viable.
A high useful percentage of each wafer is paramount to TSMC customers, especially when wafers for 3nm chips cost $20,000, compared to $16,000 for wafers for 5nm chips. The larger the nanometers, the cheaper it is.
At the current price, only Apple has been able to get hold of the first production generation at 3nm. This process node is known as N3 within TSMC and 100% of this production has been tied up by Apple.
The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra they will probably be the only smartphones that carry a 3nm SoC this year. But things are expected to pick up next year and TSMC is expected to start producing chips with its N3E process node during the second half of this year.
First Apple and then the rest, send the money
The chips made with the N3E process node are cheaper and easier to manufacture than those made with the N3 process. Taking advantage of the lower costs, TSMC expects other customers such as Intel, AMD and Qualcomm to jump into the 3nm pool by the end of the year.
It makes sense for these three companies to wait for the N3E because they are all chip designers selling chips.. Their benefits come from the chips themselves, so using a cheaper manufacturing process allows them to have better prices and obtain greater profitability.
Apple, on the other hand, is the end user of its own chips and makes money selling a product that has many more components, hence it can play more with the price and increase profitability.
Chips made with N3E will have faster clock speeds and consume less power than those made with the N3 node. TSMC claims that the first 3nm node (N3) will offer 15% higher performance and up to 35% less power consumption than its 5nm node.