According to the latest industry reports, the manufacturing process N3E (3nm) from TSMC is getting better and better. Although it was initially revealed that instead of arriving at the beginning of 2024, its mass production was brought forward to the end of 2023, but now everything indicates that it will start even earlier: during the second quarter of this year (Q2 2023).

TSMC

Although the manufacturing process for the N3E was supposed to be around ‘3nm+’, it is ultimately a slightly improved alternative lithography thanks to an EUV design with fewer layers, supposedly reduced from 25 to 21 layers, which would make it easier to manufacture. According to the leaked details, the N3E crafting process would be 8% less dense than the original N3 node, but 60% denser than 5 nm. For comparison, node N3 would have 70% denser logic than node N5.

Despite this, it is indicated that the N3E lithography”features an enhanced manufacturing process window with increased performance, power and yield“, so it is possible that we will see the N3E node used for future products by almost everyone who wants to manufacture high performance silicon. It is also said that the N3E node has higher performance than the N3B node, and that the N3B is an upgraded version of the N3 for some customers.

The N3E’s main customer would be Manzanaalthough the disagreements of Qualcomm with Samsung Foundry will cause Apple to not receive all production from these wafers. Initial production should start at 10,000-20,000 wafers per month.

Going through: @chiakokhua | TechPowerUp