TSMC reportedly ditches its N3 node entirely in favour of the more efficient N3E
Multiple outlets confirmed that TSMC has multiple problems with its cutting-edge 3 nm process node. Initial reports said it would enter mass production in late 2021 or early 2022. However, subsequent ones suggested that it wouldn't happen till September 2022 and that it would start generating revenue for the Taiwanese chipmaker in Q1 2023. Prolific leaker ShrimpApplePro has stumbled upon some new information about the TSMC N3 saga.
It seems that TSMC has ditched the N3 node entirely, with primary customers like Apple and Intel shifting to the more power-efficient N3E process. Apple's M2 Pro chip was supposed to use the process, but new reports now state that it could stick to the M2's N5P node. Intel's Meteor Lake tGPU tile was supposed to be manufactured on the N3 node, as was Apple's A17 Bionic. According to some rumours, the former will now be based on the N5 node instead. N3E isn't scheduled to enter mass production until H2 2023, so one can expect to see products running N3E chips sometime in 2024.
That said, some semiconductor industry analysts think that the N3E risk production could start soon and start generating revenue earlier than scheduled. Apple, in particular, would prefer to have the A17 Bionic on N3E instead of the N5/N4 family. It is unclear who else wants a piece of the N3E pie, but not a lot of companies seem to be interested in it. Qualcomm is expected to stick to the N4 node for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. MediaTek could follow suit, as N3E might not be ready in time for the Dimensity 9000's successor.