TSMC prepares price cuts


After months of madness but also important investments, TSMC is about to readjust its commercial policy to avoid killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. In the race for resources and etching processes, TSMC has given birth to the most expensive manufacturing technology in the history of the semiconductor industry with its 3nm. The main reason is, for the moment, a yield below 50%. However, the Taiwanese giant has just stated that it was satisfied with the results on the subject with a very short term prospect of exceeding what it obtains with the 5nm. TSMC’s 3nm process offers a density improvement of nearly 60% and an energy efficiency gain of between 30 and 35%. But at this point, Apple is the only customer to use this state-of-the-art process and even then only on the high-end versions of its latest iPhone. Price is the main limiting factor to the adoption of 3nm by the rest of the industry. For example, TSMC’s largest customers, AMD and MediaTek, have yet to announce future products based on the N3 node.

TSMC 3nm prix
TSMC’s 3N process price is the main problem for the industry

TSMC 3nm price is too expensive for the industry

The communications of the “big manufacturers” for their future roadmap are very cautious. Thus the new architecture of AMD, Zen 5 should take advantage of the N4 or N3 process, depending on yields and prices for a launch in late 2024. To heal its margins, NVIDIA will use the N4 or an equivalent at Samsung cheaper for its GPU series RTX 50 . As for Qualcomm and MediaTek, custom 5nm nodes are still being considered for future products. A situation that worries TSMC, which is desperate to get its new production units up and running. Sources close to the industry have reported that TSMC is therefore preparing to sharply reduce the price of 3nm, in order to attract customers and avoid departures to the competition.

This reaction is likely to generate a similar attitude among competitors Intel and Samsung. The hope of seeing the price curve begin to reverse is therefore real. Finally, the more “comfortable” transition to 3nm for the brands also makes it possible to envisage more innovations.