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TSMC Will Reportedly Charge $20,000 Per 3nm Wafer

TSMC will reportedly raise the price of wafers processed using its cutting-edge N3 (3nm class) process technology by 25% compared to its N5 (5nm class) production node. This quickly makes complex processors like GPUs and smartphone SoCs expensive, and devices like graphics cards and handsets expensive. On the other hand, the prohibitive cost makes multi-chiplet designs more attractive.

A single wafer processed with TSMC’s state-of-the-art N3 manufacturing technology can cost over $20,000. Digi Times (via @RetiredEngineer). By contrast, N5 wafers cost around $16,000, the report said.

There are many reasons why it’s expensive to build chips on N5 and N3 production nodes. First, both technologies make fairly extensive use of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, with up to 14 layers for N5 and even more for N3. Each EUV tool costs $150 million and requires multiple of his EUV scanners to be installed in the fab, creating additional costs for TSMC. Also, it takes a long time to manufacture chips on N5 and N3. This means higher costs for TSMC.

TSMC’s Alleged Wafer Prices

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