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Next-gen electronics could be much more expensive, given that TSMC’s 3nm wafers cost $20,000 each

Nvidia CEO Jensen cited rising foundry costs as one of the main reasons for the company’s outrageous graphics card prices. Semiconductor wafer prices have skyrocketed in recent years, in part due to manufacturing complexity and TSMC’s hegemony in the marketplace. High-end consumer products slated for launch in 2023 will be even more expensive, according to a new report from Digitimes.

The cost of a 3nm TSMC wafer is said to be $20,000, twice what it cost in 2018 for 7nm wafers. Retired engineer over on Twitter had heard murmurs that the amount could be even higher. This likely applies to wafers manufactured on TSMC’s N3E node, a power-efficient version of the now doomed N3 node. While the price increase may not be visible immediately, it can be expected in the coming quarters, especially since most of the current generation semiconductors are still included in TSMC’s N5 family (N5P, N4, N4E, N4X, 4N). are.

Many industry giants such as Nvidia, Qualcomm, Apple and MediaTek have limited TSMC’s production capacity in 2023 and 2024. Some of the affected products could include smartphones with Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, MediaTek Dimensity 10,000 (preliminary) and iPhones from A17 Bionic, Apple M3 MacBooks and Ryzen 9000 processors. High prices and limited capacity could also force some companies to hold on to the N5 family for a generation or two longer than intended.

Digitimes adds that Samsung’s inability to compete with TSMC in the market is also a factor in the sky-high prices. Yields for its 3nm GAA process continue to be below average, and there’s no indication that this will improve any time soon. Twitter leaker RGCloudS says yields are expected to hit 70% by April 2023. While that’s not nearly as good as TSMC, a few more improvements could make Samsung competitive again, maybe enough to woo Qualcomm and Nvidia back.

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