AMD’s chip manufacturing partner, TSMC, has reportedly created an ‘enhanced’ version of its 5nm node specifically for its next-generation products. Well, its next next-generation products anyways. The red team’s 5nm processors and graphics cards are still a little way off, with only the AMD Zen 4 CPUs currently pegged for the teeny-tiny production lithography.
In a news story from Chainnews (via @chiakokhua), ostensibly about the cut in 5nm and 7nm production orders from Huawei, the piece also notes that TSMC isn’t worried about this drop because Apple has taken up the slack. It’s asking for a whole bunch of extra chip wafers, potentially competing with AMD for 5nm demand at the end of this year.
But the piece also goes on to say that: “TSMC is said to have developed a 5nm enhanced version of its process specifically for AMD, which has a capacity requirement of no less than 20,000 12-inch wafers per month.”
It does need to be said we’re relying on machine translation here from the original Chinese, but we’ve gone through a few different sources to try and get it nailed down. One of those translation sources didn’t seem to suggest that it was necessarily an AMD-specific node, so there does need to be a certain amount of sodium ingested at this point.
But considering that TSMC has already claimed that presumably what is its standard 5nm design is sporting a 1.84x increase in transistor density over the current 7nm chips, the advanced new process is already looking pretty damned tasty.
We don’t necessarily know what the enhanced version of the 5nm design might be, or what the provenance of the specific process rumour might actually be either, but there is still a fair amount of detail out there regarding TSMC’s silicon-weaving plans.
AMD doesn’t actually make any of the processors or graphics chips it sells, unlike Intel it sold off its manufacturing arm many years ago—which subsequently became a separate company called GlobalFoundries—and has since gone…