Many people do not realize that many of the products we use rely heavily on are nothing without the foundries that produce the silicon that powers those products. This makes the progress of the fabs very important to us enthusiasts. We have just heard that TSMC, one of the leading foundries, will be ready to take orders for products on the 7nm node by as early as April 2017. This is very significant to us as this lets us know when we can start expecting GPUs and CPUs based on the same node.
At a recent event, the TSMC Research Unit revealed the roadmap for the company for the next few years. According to them the company will be switching to 10nm technology by the end of this year, and will start 7nm trial production in 2017. Also the 16nm FFC process (a much more refined version of the 16FF+) will also be landing this year.
The 10nm FinFET process will provide a 50% reduction in chip size compared to 16nm FF+, as well as a 50% increase in performance or a 40% decrease in power consumption (the 10% difference is due to how power efficiency scales across clocks). 7nm (FinFET) will offer a 15% increase in performance over 10nm or a decrease in power consumption of 35%.
When it comes to actual products based on these nodes AMD has stated that the Vega 20 GPU will be based off the 7nm node. It has also been hinted that the successor to the upcoming Zen architecture (Zen+) will be built on the 7nm node. So you should see AMD CPUs and APUs on the 7nm node in the future. NVIDIA has recently enlisted the help of Samsung with their chips, they still have access to TSMC’s nodes as well though. NVIDIA’s next generation Volta GPUs will be announced by May 2017, so we will see what direction they go when it comes to node size.