The owners of lithographic industries continue to invest in the development of increasingly thin “technological” standards. As it became known, the company TSMC, which supplies the processors for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, plans to introduce 7-nanometer process technology in the first quarter of 2017, having mastered the mass production of microchips in 2018. Thus, a series processors, Apple Ax will move the process to the release of the iPhone 8.
TSMC and ARM joint press release announced the beginning of cooperation in the adaptation of the 7-nm process technology with FinFET application for creating high-performance chips with the appropriate architecture. The two sides also will expand their cooperation in the framework of development of 16-nm and 10-nm process technology with FinFET application. These technological standards have allowed us to create digital projects 16-nm and 10-nm processors with ARM architecture Cortex-A72.
It is quite obvious that the timing of the appearance of the first 7-nm processors with ARM architecture will depend not only on the readiness of TSMC to release them, but the timing of the completion of data processors by ARM clients. The names of the “pioneers” in this direction have not been disclosed, but next year we surely will know them.
Last year, TSMC reported on the success in the development of the 10-nm process technology. Thus, the switching speed of transistors compared to the 16-nm process technology could be increased by 15% at constant energy and at constant speed, the power consumption can be reduced by 35%. In other words, there is a clear bias towards the reduction of energy consumption. The density of transistors has increased by 2.2 times compared to the 16-nm process technology.
It is expected that processors with observance of the 10-nm standards will be used in this year’s iPhone 7 and iPad Pro 2. It is known that the transition from 10 nm to 7 nm will be optimized from the point of view of opportunities for re-using some of the tools and equipment.
Note that Intel plans to launch 7-nanometer process technology only in 2020. By this time, TSMC expects to receive the first samples of 5-nm products, but much will depend on the company’s ability timely to implement EUV lithography.