TSMC celebrates 1 billion defect-free 7-nanometer chips

The amount of silicon used to make those processors is enough to cover 13 Manhattan city blocks

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TSMC Tainan office building (Reuters photo)

TSMC Tainan office building (Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) passed an impressive milestone in July, producing its one-billionth, defect-free 7-nanometer chip.

According to a TSMC blog post, the company has manufactured 7 nm chips for over 100 products and dozens of different customers. The amount of silicon used to make those chips is enough to cover 13 Manhattan city blocks, and with more than 1 billion transistors per chip, that is over one quintillion (a billion billion) 7nm transistors.

The company pointed out that its 7 nm process was able to achieve “high-volume production faster than any other TSMC technology before.” TSMC was also the first to use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography in the commercial production of 7 nm chips, whereby the shorter wavelength of EUV light makes it easier to print nanometer-scale features on processors.

TSMC is the world’s largest semiconductor foundry and supplies some of the biggest global tech companies, like Apple and AMD. The Taiwanese companies 7 nm chips are not only in PCs, tablets, and smartphones, but in data centers, vehicles, and used to perform sophisticated training and inferencing for artificial intelligence.

According to PC Gamer, most of the best graphic cards and at least half of the best CPUs for gaming come from one of TSMC’s fabs.

Currently, only three companies have the ability to produce advanced chips in the world: TSMC, Samsung, and Intel. However, Intel’s recent announcement that its 7-nanometer chips are six months behind schedule, have given a boost to both TSMC and Samsung.

TSMC’s state-of-the-art plant in the southern city of Tainan has also started producing 5-nanometer chips designed for the new Apple iPhones. They are scheduled for launch in the second half of 2020, while the company expects its 3-nanometer chips to be ready for mass production by 2022.