According to a press release, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has begun volume production of its next-generation silicon built on its three-nanometer process. The manufacturer and supplier for both Apple and Qualcomm claims that the new process node, which offers a 1.6x transistor density increase, will be able to deliver better performance than its 5nm predecessor — all while using 30-35% less power.
TSMC has been Apple’s go-to supplier for its custom Apple silicon SoCs since it moved away from Samsung way back in 2014 (via NotebookCheck). Apple’s relationship with TSMC has ushered in some of the most powerful and efficient mobile SoCs on the market, which is exemplified by how well iPhones did in LaptopMag’s battery life tests despite their traditionally smaller batteries.
TSMC being Apple’s primary chip supplier means that the upcoming A17 Bionic SoC will probably bring forward improvements to Apple’s iPhone performance. The fact that TSMC has been quiet on performance improvements suggests that perhaps efficiency is a bigger focus this time around.
TSMC isn’t the only horse in this race, though. Samsung announced earlier in 2022 that it had also started mass production on 3nm silicon using a new Gate-All-Around architecture. According to Samsung, its 3nm process could use 45% less power, while increasing performance by 23% and reducing surface area by 16%.