Analysts believe that a single TSMC 5nm wafer costs $17,000

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In short: CSET (The Middle for Safety and Rising Applied sciences) has printed a brand new report, titled “AI chips: What they’re and why they matter,” during which they calculate the gross sales worth of silicon wafers. They discovered that TSMC’s 5nm node requires exceptionally costly wafers that aren’t cheaper on a per-chip foundation than 7nm chips. Nevertheless, they nonetheless imagine that 5nm chips are a well-liked buy.

In accordance with CSET’s mannequin, a single 300 mm wafer constructed on the 5nm node prices roughly $16,988. The same wafer constructed on the 7nm node reportedly prices $9,346.

Utilizing a theoretical ~600 mm2 die, roughly equal in measurement to the Nvidia GA102 GPU used contained in the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090, the per-chip prices of every die had been calculated to be $233 and $238, for the 7nm and 5nm nodes, respectively.

CSET: Calculation of foundry sale worth per chip in 2020 by node

  16/12nm 10nm 7nm 5nm
Mass manufacturing 12 months and quarter 2015 Q3 2017 Q2 2018 Q3 2020 Q
Capital funding per wafer processed per 12 months $11,220 $13,169 $14,267 $16,746
Capital consumed per wafer processed in 2020 $993 $1,494 $2,330 $4,235
Different prices and markup per wafer $2,990 $4,498 $7,016 $12,753
Foundry sale worth per wafer $3,984 $5,992 $9,346 $16,988
Foundry sale worth per chip $331 $274 $233 $238

The foundry sale worth per wafer is calculated because the sum of the “different prices and mark-up per wafer” and the “capital consumed per wafer processed in 2020,” or in different phrases, the sum of the revenue margins, meeting value, and estimated improvement value. Consequently, that is a mean worth for less than a small window of time; TSMC will probably be various the precise gross sales worth above and beneath this worth relying on long-term methods and market situations.

However, it is a rigorously estimated worth and baseline for the precise gross sales worth of the wafers. From it, we will deduce that 5nm merchandise, together with the processors used within the subsequent technology of Apple handsets, won’t be cheaper than present merchandise.

The excessive prices of 5nm manufacturing are largely a consequence of their novelty, and in time, they’ll turn out to be cheaper. Nevertheless, the 5nm node does require some distinctive remedies that make it dearer than older nodes. It’s closely reliant on EUV (excessive ultraviolet lithography) methods, and reportedly, every EUV device prices $120 million. A single wafer can have as much as fourteen EUV layers utilized to it.

Regardless of the associated fee, the 5nm node is a promising one. On the identical energy consumption as a 7nm chip, a 5nm one will run 15% quicker. On the identical efficiency stage, a 5nm chip will eat 30% much less energy than a 7nm one. And the 5nm node is reported to have higher yield charges, too.

Picture credit score: Laura Ockel

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