Intel, Samsung, TSMC Chip Battle Intensifies Following Announcement

What you should know


  • TSMC announced it will start producing chips with a 1.6nm process node by 2026, promising greatly improved logic density and performance.
  • The company’s 3nm process node (N3E) will be used this year for top smartphone processors, including those in the iPhone 16 series and chips from Qualcomm and MediaTek.
  • TSMC’s 1.6nm node will introduce “backside power rails,” moving the wiring to connect chips to power sources from the top of the chip to the bottom, enhancing efficiency.
  • Starting the second half of next year, TSMC will begin mass production of chips using its 2nm node, featuring Gate-All-Around (GAA) transistors for reduced current leak and increased drive current.


Full Story

Oh, have you heard? Nikkei Asia just dropped some tech gossip last Wednesday. TSMC’s making headlines again. They’re planning to shrink things down to a 1.6nm process node by 2026. Yeah, you heard that right. They spilled the beans at the North America Technology Symposium over in Santa Clara, California.

This year’s a big deal for TSMC. They’re rolling out their second-gen 3nm tech (N3E) for the top dogs in smartphones. We’re talking the A18 Pro and A18 Bionic for the iPhone 16 series, not to mention Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 SoC and MediaTek’s Dimensity 9400 chipset. All that goodness packed into something so tiny.

Here’s the lowdown on why smaller is better in the chip world. Smaller process nodes mean teeny-tiny transistors. More transistors squished in means we get a performance boost and/or better energy efficiency. Take the iPhone 11 series from 2019, powered by the 7nm A13 Bionic with 8.5 billion transistors. Fast forward to the iPhone 15 Pro and Max, and you’ve got the 3nm A17 Pro boasting 19 billion transistors. Mind-blowing, right?

TSMC’s not stopping there. They’re saying this 1.6nm node is going to be a game-changer for logic density and performance. And guess what? TSMC’s CEO, C.C. Wei, is all in. At the Symposium, he was like, “We’re giving our customers the cream of the crop for AI with the most advanced silicon.” Plus, they’re throwing in some fancy “backside power rails” for this 1.6nm node. It’s a neat trick moving the wiring from the top to the bottom of the chip.

Let’s not forget each 3nm A17 Pro AP is packing 19 billion transistors. That’s a lot of power in the palm of your hand.

Next up, TSMC’s gearing up to mass-produce 2nm node chips in the latter half of next year. And get this: they’re introducing Gate-All-Around (GAA) transistors. It’s techy stuff, but essentially, the gate hugs the channel from all sides, which means less current leak and more drive current. Samsung‘s already on the GAA train with its 3nm process. And TSMC? They’ve already handed over 2nm prototypes to big names like Apple and NVIDIA.

So, what’s the takeaway? Our smartphones are about to get a whole lot smarter and more power-efficient. Makes you wonder, though. With all this shrinking going on, how small can we go before we hit the limit? Guess we’ll find out by the end of the decade.

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynn
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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