Beyond 10 nm at TSMC: 7 nm DUV and 7 nm EUV

As noted previously, TSMC’s 7 nm node will be used by tens of companies for hundreds of chips targeting different applications. Initially, the company plans to offer two versions of the manufacturing technology: one for high-performance, and one for mobile applications, both of which will use immersion lithography and DUV. Moreover, eventually TSMC intends to introduce a more advanced 7nm fabrication process that will use EUV for critical layers, taking a page from GlobalFoundries’ book (which is set tp start 7 nm with DUV and then introduces second-gen 7 nm with EUV).

TSMC’s first-generation CLN7FF will enter risk production in Q2 2017 and will be used for over a dozen of tape outs this year. It is expected that high-volume manufacturing (HVM) using the CLN7FF will commence in ~Q2 2018, so, the first “7-nm” ICs will show up in commercial products in the second half of next year. When compared to the CLN16FF+, the CLN7FF will enable chip developers to shrink their die sizes by 70% (at the same transistor count), drop power consumption by 60% or increase frequency by 30% (at the same complexity).

The second-generation 7 nm from TSMC (CLN7FF+) will use EUV for select layers and will require developers to redesign EUV layers according to more aggressive rules. The improved routing density is expected to provide ~10-15-20% area reduction and enable higher performance and/or lower power consumption. In addition, production cycle of such chips will get shorter when compared to ICs made entirely using DUV tools. TSMC plans to start risk production of products using its CLN7FF+ in Q2 2018 and therefore expect HVM to begin in H2 2019.

Advertised PPA Improvements of TSMC's CLN7FF Nodes
Data announced by TSMC during conference calls, press briefings and in press releases
Power 60% <40% 10% lower
Performance 30% ? lower higher
Area Reduction 70% >37% ~10-15-20% tangible
HVM Start ~Q2 2018 - ~H2 2019 ~H2 2020

As it turns out, all three leading foundries (GlobalFoundries, Samsung Foundry and TSMC) all intend to start using EUV for select layers with their 7 nm nodes. While ASML and other EUV vendors need to solve a number of issues with the technology, it looks like it will be two years down the road before it will be used for commercial ICs. Of course, certain slips are possible, but looks like 2019 will be the year when EUV will be here. In fact, keeping in mind that both TSMC and Samsung are already talking about their second-gen EUV technologies (which they call 5 and 6 nm) that will use more EUV layers, it looks like the foundries are confident of the ASML TwinScan NXE manufacturing tools (as well as of the Cymer light source, pellicles, photoresists, etc.) they are going to use.

10 nm: Samsung Is Shipping, TSMC Is Steady Beyond 10 nm at Samsung: 8 nm and 6 nm
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  • Meteor2 - Sunday, May 7, 2017 - link

    Do you mean Broadwell? But what's OC'd clock speed got to do with anything?
  • jjj - Friday, May 5, 2017 - link

    Pretty sure that the 10nm LPE perf claims are vs 14LPE not LPP as 27% higher perf is way too much.
  • Anton Shilov - Friday, May 5, 2017 - link

    Regarding the 10LPE vs 14LP*, I am not sure because we have two statements that contradict each other from Samsung.

    They stated the following in October:

    "Samsung’s new 10nm FinFET process (10LPE) adopts an advanced 3D transistor structure with additional enhancements in both process technology and design enablement compared to its 14nm predecessor, allowing up to 30-percent increase in area efficiency with 27-percent higher performance or 40-percent lower power consumption."

    But if you look at the picture (from August) there (, they mentioned ~30% performance increase at the same leakage power, which can considered as 27%... But if you happen to see some more up to date slides from Samsung, please let me know.
  • jjj - Saturday, May 6, 2017 - link

    If they had anywhere close to 27% over 14LPP , they would have more design wins so it's safer to assume that "predecessor" means LPE. The phrasing itself is iffy, why "compared to ïts 14nm predecessor" and not just "compared to 14nm" - corporations are tricky like that.
  • jjj - Sunday, May 7, 2017 - link

    Hong Hao, senior vice president of the foundry business at Samsung Semiconductor "10nm brings a lot of benefits to our customers in terms of area scaling, performance and power or PPA. So overall, the PPA improvements are very substantial compared 14nm. We have compared that in terms of the performance, area and power to 14nm LPE. 14nm LPE is our first-generation finFET technology. We see up to a 30% area reduction with a 27% performance improvement or 40% lower power at the same performance."
  • willis936 - Friday, May 5, 2017 - link

    Feynman is crying tears of joy in his grave. Intel is crying for another reason.
  • melgross - Friday, May 5, 2017 - link

    Oh, I don't know. It's acknowledged that Intel's current 14nm process is equivelant to other's 10nm processes, and likely their 10nm will be equivelant to other's 7nm.

    I don't think Intel has anything to,worry about for the next few years. I still doubt that 5nm will come about, at least, not as a real 5nm process, though it will likely be advertised as such.

    But when that wall is reached, for everyone, then, long last, Intel will lose most of its process advantages. But that will be in 5 to 8 years, so there's still a long way to,go.
  • tarqsharq - Friday, May 5, 2017 - link

    We'll have to see if we get another materials switch up off silicon.

    Some kind of graphene, maybe a photon based solution instead of electron?

    Apparently quantum computing is only useful for certain types of operations, so that's not a magic bullet for speeding up all of our computing tasks.
  • Meteor2 - Friday, May 5, 2017 - link

    I reckon we'll get real 5 nm, probably with quad patterning, possibly with a new transistor design, in around 2023-25. Difficult to see where we can go after that. Maybe that graphene stuff I suppose.
  • vladx - Friday, May 5, 2017 - link

    Nanotubes seems the most feasible solution.

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