TSMC is Allegedly Apple's Sole A13 Supplier

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by AlphaAtlas, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    A recent Digitimes report claims that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will be "the exclusive supplier of Apple's custom-designed chips dubbed the A13 that will power the 2019 series of iPhones." Apple sourced chips from multiple foundries in the past, which led to measurable power consumption differences in some previous generation iPhones, but this news isn't exactly surprising. The only other company capable of manufacturing 7nm chips right now is Apple's biggest competitor, Samsung, but Digitimes' sources also claim that the "foundry is scheduled to enter volume production of the chips built using 7nm process technology including an enhanced version with EUV in the second quarter of 2019." Assuming the source is correct, this more or less confirms that TSMC's 7nm EUV process is on track, in spite of recent issues at one manufacturing facility. TSMC's current 7nm chips are made without EUV, while Samsung started with EUV when they began 7nm production. If you're ready to start picking sides early, Samsung is rumored to be the manufacturer of Nvidia's 7nm Ampere GPUs, while TSMC already supplies AMD with their 7nm Ryzen chiplets and Vega GPUs.


    TSMC CEO CC Wei said at the company's investors meeting in January that sales generated from 7nm process technology are forecast to account for more than 25% of company revenues this year. Wei added that the foundry's 7nm chip client portfolio is "growing stronger" as more chip designs for applications such as HPC and automotive demand the process. Despite the optimism about its 7nm chip sales, TSMC expressed caution about the foundry's overall operations citing factors on a macro level. The foundry expects 2019 to be "a slow year" for its business and also the global chip sector. It forecasts that the foundry segment will register only flat growth.
     
  2. Lakados

    Lakados [H]ard|Gawd

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    I would assume that at this point no two 7nm construction methods are exactly alike, so the design tools are probably slightly different and some things are just not possible on one as they are on the other. It was bound to happen eventually, that or maybe they just want to consolidate their supply chain and I am looking for technical answers to problems that don't exist.
     
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  3. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    Processes on the "same" node from different foundries usually aren't the same, but Apple sells so many chips that they can (apparently) afford to drop millions on re-designing the exact same processor for another foundry.

    Sourcing from 2 foundries does give them some flexibility in case something goes wrong. But yeah, you'd have to ask Apple if you want to know why they went with a sole supplier over two.
     
  4. 1Nocturnal101

    1Nocturnal101 Limp Gawd

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    Well that's actually ahead of schedule, could we possibly see EUV/UVL processors and GPUs in 2019 a year early. Or will the supply chain bottleneck until 2020
     
  5. Derfnofred

    Derfnofred Gawd

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    +1, heck, even "identical" processes at different fabs (cross-licensed, e.g. Samsung-GF) aren't the same. When we're talking these sizes, the process you're using is *that* line of equipment and *that* line only. Same node on different processes are completely different beasts.
     
  6. BloodyIron

    BloodyIron 2[H]4U

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    Sure is a nice TSMC 7nm fab you have there... Sure would be a shame if anything happened to it... It really is quite nice... If I were you I'd be upset if anything happened to it...

    Just sayin...
     
  7. DNMock

    DNMock Limp Gawd

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    If it weren't for the fact that Apple being Apple probably paid extra to jump to the front of the line for 7nm node production I would be inclined to think this would be a possibility. As it stands that 3-4 month period ahead of schedule will be filled with nothing but making these Apple chips...
     
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  8. 1Nocturnal101

    1Nocturnal101 Limp Gawd

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    You are probably right, although Apple probably won't overproduce iPhones this year they got stuck with alot of previous stock from lack of sales.