HIS grace turns a speck of sand on a beach into a chip of sparkling gold. -Tandon Sir


3nm is a next-generation manufacturing technique, this enhanced process will play an important role in next-generation chips.

The “node” of the process is, in simple terms, a measure of the smallest possible dimension used in manufacturing, measured in nanometers (nm). The node of a chip helps to determine its transistor density, as well as its cost, performance, and efficiency.

The link of the node to actual dimensions is not that well defined but it still denotes how advanced the chip technology is.

In this connection, it is important to state Moore’s law is the observation that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit (IC) doubles about every two years. Moore’s law is an observation and projection of a historical trend. Rather than a law of physics, it is an empirical relationship linked to gains from experience in production.

It was Apple who made the last big fabrication process jump in 2020 when it moved to TSMC’s( Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited ) 5nm process with the A14 Bionic and the M1 chip. Some chips, such as the S6, S7, and S8 in the Apple Watch have continued to use a 7nm fabrication process because they are based on the A13 Bionic – Apple’s final 7nm chip designed for the iPhone.

Apple introduced the A16 Bionic chip with the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max last year. Apple claims that it is a 4nm chip because it uses TSMC’s “N4” process.

3nm when used should provide the biggest performance and efficiency leap to Apple’s chips since 2020. The increased number of transistors that are made possible by 3nm allows the chip to perform more tasks simultaneously and at a faster rate while using less power.

The next-generation production technique allows chips to use up to 35 percent less power while providing better performance compared to the 5nm process that Apple has used for all of its A- and M-series chips since 2020.

3nm chips could also allow for more advanced dedicated chip hardware. For example, a 3nm chip could potentially support more advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning tasks, as well as more advanced graphics capabilities.

It is worth noting that moving to a smaller chip size can also present some challenges, such as increased power density, heat generation, and manufacturing complexity. This is one of the reasons why major fabrication process leaps occur increasingly less often. Apparently, violating Moores’s Law.

Available information suggests, future Apple silicon chips built on the 3nm process will feature up to four dies, which would support up to 40 compute cores. The M2 chip has a 10-core CPU and the M2 Pro and Max have 12-core CPUs, so 3nm could significantly boost multi-core performance.

Once 3nm production is well established, TSMC will move on to 2nm. It is expected to start production on the 2nm node in 2025.

Apple is working on multiple M3 chips, codenamed Ibiza, Lobos, and Palma. Looking further ahead, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models coming in 2024 will feature M3 Pro and M3 Max chips.