TSMC reported on its first-quarter earnings call that it is advancing the development of its next-generation process node. The semiconductor giant plans to put its first 3nm processes into production later this year and 2nm by the end of 2025. Goldman Sachs analyst Bruce Lee asked TSMC CEO C.C. Wei the first and second questions on the call. His first question was about inflation and the overall economy, and Wei replied that TSMC is well-positioned in the market as the world’s leading meteorological foundry.
Lee then asked about the timetable for the 2nm node. “Our N2 development is on track,” Wei said. “We are confident that N2 will continue to maintain our technological leadership to support customer growth. We plan to continue production in 2025.” He added that pre-production will begin in 2024.
N2 is said to be TSMC’s first process to use GAA (Gate All Around) transistors instead of FinFETs (Fin Field Effect Transistors). Samsung has already started using its version of GAA, and Intel plans to implement its version in 2024. An analyst asked Wei about this, but he avoided answering.
TSMC executives are more open about the upcoming 3nm series. In the second half of this year, TSMC will put the N3 process into production. A year later, or possibly sooner, it will be ready to put the N3E process into production, an “enhanced performance, power and yield” version of the N3.
TSMC predicts that HPC (High Performance Computing) will be the fastest growing segment this year. It generated 41% of its revenue last quarter, just above the 40% of smartphones. IoT and automotive are in third and fourth place with 8% and 5% of sales, respectively. Total foundry sales rose 11.6% sequentially to $17.6 billion, slightly above February’s guidance. The company expects its second-quarter revenue to now be between $17.6 billion and $18.2 billion.