What you need to know
- Apple A-series chipmaker TSMC published a blog post that argues chip innovation is still coming.
- It pointed towards the future of 5-nanometer chips.
- Apple currently uses a 7-nanometer chip, but it could introduce the first 5-nanometer chip in a couple of years.
Back in 1965, Intel CEO Gordon Moore related that given the advances in microchips, the power of the devices these chips were powering would double every two years thanks to better integrated transistors into circuits. TSMC, the maker of Apple's A-Series chips, still believes that is the case.
Here's his primary point:
First, let's discuss the elephant in the room. Some people believe that Moore's Law is dead because they believe it is no longer possible to continue to shrink the transistor any further. Just to give you an idea of the scale of the modern transistor, the typical gate is about 20 nanometers long. A water molecule is only 2.75 Angstrom or 0.275 nanometer in diameter! You can now start counting the number of atoms in a transistor. At this scale, many factors limit the fabrication of the transistor.
To address this squarely, TSMC has recently announced our N5P node which further expands our leadership beyond the N5 node that will feature the world's highest transistor density and offer the fastest performance. After being exposed to our technology roadmap, I can safely state that TSMC has many years of pioneering and innovation ahead of us where we will continue to shrink the individual transistor and continue to improve density. You will hear more from us in the coming months and years as we progress to new nodes.
The main backbone from TSMC's assertion in innovation is its connection to Apple's A-series chips, which continue to push the boundary of what computing chips can do. The N5 node he mentions uses 5-nanometer process. Currently, Apple's A12 Bionic chip is 7-nanometer, but reports say Apple is already working on a next-gen 5-nanometer chip. TSMC would have a front row to this and knows that chip innovation is coming.
The entire post is truly enlightening. Cheng goes into greater detail about a variety of other elements regarding chip innovation.