Taiwanese foundry TSMC revealed some interesting tidbits at the firm's investors conference, which was held January 18. First up, TSMC no longer sees sales of smartphone chips as a major growth driver. In fact, revenue of chips for upmarket phones like the iPhone is expected to decline in 2018.
Instead, TSMC now sees high-performance computing (HPC) and cryptocurrency mining chips as growth drivers. A look at the numbers reveals just how incredible the cryptocurrency boom is. Bitmain recently became a major TSMC customer and accounted for 3 to 5 percent of the foundry's third-quarter revenue. That's on-par with NVIDIA!
HPC, which under TSMC’s definition includes applications for AI, GPUs and cryptocurrency mining, is picking up just as smartphone demand is losing momentum, the company said. While AI ASICs such as those used for cryptocurrency mining may to a degree be eroding sales of GPUs, demand for both types of chips is quite “solid”, according to TSMC.
EE Times has some more TSMC new over here. TSMC aims to kick off 7nm production in June 2018 and believes the new node will account for 10 percent of it 2018 sales. A total of 50 7nm tapeouts are expected during 2018.
The first 5nm customer test chips are currently running in TSMC labs, the company aims to offer 5nm risk production in Q1 2019. Some info about EUV was shared too, TSMC currently believes EUV will be ready for the introduction of its N7+ process in 2019 and N5 in 2020. TSMC chairman Morris Chang also mentioned that the path to 3nm with EUV now looks feasible.
TSMC expects its revenue to grow 10 to 15 percent in 2018.