TSMC on track to produce 7nm chips at full capacity in early 2018
When most chip manufacturers are focusing their efforts on producing 10nm chips, TSMC is reportedly ready to take on the 7nm chips.
According to the Commercial Times, supply chain sources claim that TSMC will receive the first prototype designs for chips using the 7nm FinFET process in the second quarter of this year. The design process for the chip is said to be in the 'tape out' phase, which is the last step before mass production.
Full volume production of the 7nm chips is expected to commence in early 2018. The timeline appears to be on track based on a roadmap TSMC revealed last year. Beyond 7nm chips, TSMC is looking to produce 5nm chips by 2020. It remains to be seen if Samsung, the first company to begin mass production of 10nm chips, is able to catch up.
Apple is one of the biggest customers for TSMC; its iPhone 7 family uses TSMC's 16nm FinFET processes. The 2018 lineup of iPhones and iPads are expected to use these 7nm chips. Other customers of the 7nm chips include Qualcomm, Xilinx and Nvidia.