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Report suggests AMD's upcoming Zen 4 CPUs will be built on an exclusive TSMC 5 nm enhanced node

AMD already secured 5 nm production allocations for next year's Zen 4 CPUs. (Image Source: FocusTaiwan.com)
AMD already secured 5 nm production allocations for next year's Zen 4 CPUs. (Image Source: FocusTaiwan.com)
AMD is emerging as one of the largest clients for TSMC, as team red has already secured 5 nm production allocations for the upcoming Zen 4 CPUs launching in 2021. The 5 nm node is still expected to go online this quarter, but advancements with the 3 nm nodes may be pushed back by half a year due to the global pandemic.
Bogdan Solca,
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AMD is expected to launch its desktop Ryzen 4000 CPU lineup based on the refined 7 nm Zen 3 microarchitecture later this year, with estimated IPC gains of around 10-15% per thread over the current Zen 2 chips. The jump to 5 nm should occur in 2021 with the introduction of Zen 4 chips, but, according to a recent Chinese report posted on Chainnews.com, AMD has already secured 5 nm production allocations at TSMC. Team red apparently asked the Taiwanese foundries to develop an enhanced 5 nm node that will only be used to manufacture the upcoming Zen 4 CPUs.

The report mentions that AMD secured production for 20,000 12-inch 5 nm wafers per month starting with the second quarter of 2020. Meanwhile, Huawei was forced to port many of its 7 nm orders to the Chinese-based SMIC foundries, so TSMC is now able to take more 7 nm orders from Nvidia and AMD, keeping its 7 nm production capacity fully tapped. It is interesting to point out that this piece of news may actually confirm that Nvidia’s upcoming Ampere GPUs are based on 7 nm tech rather than 10 nm tech, as previously rumored.

Up until now, it looks like the pandemic has barely affected TSMC’s plans, as the 5 nm node is still expected to go online this second quarter and production will gradually ramp up towards the end of the year. However, advancements with the 3 nm node may have been rescheduled for later dates, so TSMC needs to postpone the installation of the 3 nm trial production line at the Zhuke 12 and Nanke 18 plants from June to December. This means that 3 nm risk production could be pushed to the first half of 2021, and commercial production may be further delayed until late 2022. Apparently, Apple intended to push TSMC in order to release the 3 nm tech in time for the 2021 A15 Bionic SoCs, but the projected impact of the pandemic forced the company to postpone all related plans.

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Bogdan Solca
Bogdan Solca - Senior Tech Writer - 1540 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I first stepped into the wondrous IT&C world when I was around seven years old. I was instantly fascinated by computerized graphics, whether they were from games or 3D applications like 3D Max. I'm also an avid reader of science fiction, an astrophysics aficionado, and a crypto geek. I started writing PC-related articles for Softpedia and a few blogs back in 2006. I joined the Notebookcheck team in the summer of 2017 and am currently a senior tech writer mostly covering processor, GPU, and laptop news.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 04 > Report suggests AMD's upcoming Zen 4 CPUs will be built on an exclusive TSMC 5 nm enhanced node
Bogdan Solca, 2020-04-16 (Update: 2020-04-16)