Apple to Get TSMC's First 2-Nanometer Chips

Apple will be the first company to receive chips built on the TSMC's future 2-nanometer process, DigiTimes said today. According to sources that spoke to the site, Apple is "widely believed to be the initial client to utilize the process."

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The report comes from ‌DigiTimes‌ "Tomorrow's Headlines" alert, so additional details may be available in the full news story.

TSMC is expected to begin producing 2nm chips starting in the second half of 2025. Terms like "3nm" and "2nm" refer to the specific architecture and design rules TSMC is using for a family of chips. Decreases in node size correspond to a smaller transistor size, so more transistors can fit on a processor, leading to boosts in speed and more efficient power consumption.

This year, Apple adopted 3-nanometer chips for its iPhones and Macs. Both the A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro models and the M3 series chips in Macs are built on the 3-nanometer node, an upgrade over the prior 5nm node. The jump from 5nm technology to ‌3nm‌ technology brought notable 20 percent faster GPU speeds, 10 percent faster CPU speed, and a 2x faster Neural Engine to the iPhone, and similar improvements on Macs.

TSMC is building two new facilities to accommodate 2nm chip production, and working on approval for a third. TSMC generally builds new fabs when it needs to increase production capacity to handle significant orders for chips, and TSMC is expanding in a major way for 2nm technology. The transition to 2nm will see TSMC adopting GAAFET (gate-all-around field-effect transistors) with nanosheets instead of FinFET, so the manufacturing process will be more complex. GAAFETs allow for faster speeds with a smaller transistor size and lower operational voltage.

TSMC is spending billions on the change, and Apple will also need to make chip design changes to accommodate the new technology. Apple is TSMC's main client, and it is typically the first to get TSMC's new chips. Apple acquired all of TSMC's 3-nanometer chips in 2023 for iPhones, iPads, and Macs, for example.

In between the ‌3nm‌ and 2nm nodes, TSMC will introduce several new ‌3nm‌ improvements. TSMC has already come out with N3E and N3P chips that are enhanced ‌3nm‌ processes, and there are other chips in the works such as N3X for high performance computing and N3AE for automotive applications.

Rumors suggest that TSMC is already starting work on more advanced 1.4-nanometer chips, which are expected to come out as soon as 2027. Apple is said to be looking to reserve TSMC's initial manufacturing capabilities for both 1.4nm and 1nm technologies.

Tags: TSMC, 2nm

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Top Rated Comments

AlastorKatriona Avatar
21 weeks ago

Serious question, what happens after they reach 1-Nanometer? What's the next step?
Duh, 0.5 nm.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Elusi Avatar
21 weeks ago

Serious question, what happens after they reach 1-Nanometer? What's the next step?
-1 Nanometer of course!

But the chip will be inside-out so you have to flip the board around.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brofkand Avatar
21 weeks ago

Serious question, what happens after they reach 1-Nanometer? What's the next step?
These terms are just marketing, it has nothing to do with the actual physical size of the transistors or anything anymore.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ProfessionalFan Avatar
21 weeks ago
Serious question, what happens after they reach 1-Nanometer? What's the next step?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coffeemilktea Avatar
21 weeks ago
I'm so excited for 2nm chips to become mainstream; I just KNOW Safari's going to be extra-snappy when I leave goofy comments on MacRumors articles. I might need to put on some goggles just so I can handle all this speed. :apple:
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lordlugo Avatar
21 weeks ago
I can’t wait for Tim Cook to cap the new Mac Pro @ 40W then charge us $20,000 for a heavily undervolted mac
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)