Sources have told MyDrivers that TSMC is reportedly considering cutting prices for its 3nm wafers in order to attract more customers. TSMC had raised its prices for the 3-nanometer process by 25% over its 5nm wafers to $20,000 per and so far, Apple seems to be the only one willing to go all in for it, and is said to be using it in the upcoming iPhone 15. Presently it is also said that AMD, MediaTek, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm have all held off on ordering the latest node which only entered into volume production in December 2022.
TSMC is expected to begin producing another more efficient node later this year that may be cheaper to produce, the N3E, and it’s possible the costs could be lower thus allowing for a price reduction. For now, the only AMD chip expected to use 3nm technology is the upcoming Zen 5 architecture. It is believed to use some kind of 3nm process but according to a leaked roadmap slide, those processors will not see a release until 2024. Meanwhile, gamers hoping for the next wave of graphics cards, with potentially decreased prices, would also have to wait until at least 2024 since AMD and NVIDIA have only just begun to release their current generation of cards.
Economic Downturns and Lackluster Sales
Another reason that TSMC is reportedly considering cutting prices is that the company stated it could see a potential 5% drop in profits during Q1 2023. This news comes as the global economy is in a downward cycle that is expected to continue. The semiconductor manufacturing industry has seen its share of ups and downs both before and during the pandemic as unprecedented demand and chip shortages led to record profits.
However, now as various market corrections begin to take hold, and also amid lackluster sales for a variety of consumer products from both AMD and NVIDIA, many companies are understandably hesitant to pay a premium price for the 3nm process if they have doubts about reaping suitable profits from it. Since Apple seems to be TMSC’s only big-name buyer for N3, it would appear that improved power efficiency and performance increases may not be enough to lure potential customers until the price is cut.