TSMC close to 10nm tape out

TSMC fab in Hsinchu - Wikimedia CommonsTSMC has confirmed that it will tape out its first products based around a 10nm process within the next few months and will transition to 7nm by 2018 and 5nm by 2020.

During the recent announcement of its results TSMC let slip that it thinks it has cracked 10nm and will tape out its first 10nm parts within this quarter.

This means that it will have beaten Intel as the outfit delayed its 10nm node until 2017.  It might have gained a few months on Samsung which has declared that volume production of its own 10nm process node parts will begin before the end of the year.

CEO Mark Liu wanted to have 7nm parts in 2018 and 5nm – which will require a switch to extreme ultra-violet lithography (EUV) by 2020.  It needs EUV as the size of the gaps in the lithographic masks becomes too small for other forms of light to pass cleanly through.