A new report claims AMD will use a 5nm manufacturing process for its highly-anticipated Ryzen 4000 series desktop processors.
The new chips are set to be launched in Q4 2020 and will be built on AMD’s Zen 3 microarchitecture, which the company previously said will use a 7nm manufacturing process.
Chinese publication DigiTimes, however, has claimed that TSMC – the fabrication company that manufactures AMD’s processors – has pushed mass production of AMD’s 5nm desktop chips forward to Q4 2020.
As shown in a translated version of the report from Twitter user RetiredEngineer, sources in the semiconductor industry say AMD has a comprehensive partnership with SMC for sub-7nm processes.
Previous reports indicated TSMC will significantly increase capital expenditure with investment largely focused on its output of 7nm products and the creation of large 5nm production capacity.
AMD’s manufacturing process already enjoys a big advantage over computer processor market leader Intel.
Intel’s latest generation of desktop processors still employ a 14nm manufacturing process, and the company’s CFO George Davis has admitted it will only be able to deliver 7nm processors by the end of 2021.
The veracity of the report’s claim of 5nm use in Zen 3 processors has been questioned by various analysts and publications, however.
TSMC also manufactures 5nm mobile chips for smartphone companies like Huawei and Apple, the latter of which has reportedly secured two-thirds of the company’s 5nm production capacity.
According to a report from China Taiwan Economic Daily, Apple requested the fabrication of an additional 10,000 5nm processors from TSMC in Q4 2020, which are presumably destined for the iPhone 12.
This supposedly comes after Huawei cancelled an order of the same amount, a possible indication there was no further capacity available.
In addition, AMD CEO Lisa Su responded to a question about the report at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference.
Although she did not outright exclude the possibility of the 5nm node being used in Zen 3, Su appeared to imply that AMD will stick to its public roadmap that will see its 5nm processors rolled out with Zen 4 architecture.
“I think 5nm is an important node, and one that we will use quite heavily in our roadmap. I’m not ready to talk about timing yet, but I will say that Zen 4 is deep in design, and we are very collaborative with TSMC,” Su stated.
“The way to think about it is, the process nodes usually start with mobile, and mobile is usually a simpler process from the standpoint of the performance it is trying to get,” Su explained.
“5nm will be important for Zen 4, as well as our GPU roadmap, will be using 5nm, but we’ll talk about timing as we get a little bit closer,” she added.