Current Nvidia graphics cards use TSMC’s 12nm process. 2019 may bring forward a major improvement for the company, as Nvidia GPUs will begin using 7nm process node from the Taiwanese manufacturer. However, Nvidia may also skip 7nm chips altogether and remain with the 7nm process nodes until 5nm tech becomes available.
A process node (also technology node or simply node) means a specific semiconductor manufacturing process. Different nodes imply different circuit architectures and generations. Smaller node technology means faster and more efficient power.
Nvidia’s future GPUs
Nvidia, currently using TSMC’s technologies, is probably changing to Samsung’s 7nm EUV process on 2020.
During 2019, Nvidia will continue packing TSMC’s 7nm process for the majority of its products, while Samsung’s 7nm EUV will feature on some Nvidia products next year.
However, having two different manufacturers creating the components of its GPUs, and Nvidia might not need the extra help.
AMD’s upcoming Navi GPU, which is coming this year, will pack TSMC’s 7nm process node. Only mid-range GPU cards are coming out with these piece during 2019, so hardware like the AMD Ryzen 3 3000 series are not featuring the 7nm.
If AMD doesn’t launch a high-end GPU with a 7nm process node, Nvidia would have little reason to switch their current 12nm process at the high-end market, competition-wise. Either way, 12nm will continue to be cheaper than smaller chips.
All of this means Nvidia may choose what to do after AMD presents their upcoming gadgets on CES 2019. Gaming pc build-enthusiasts should be alert to what happens then.
The chip manufacturers
The name “chip” and their sizes (24nm, 14nm, 12nm, 10nm, 7nm, and soon 5nm) is used lightly in different processes. A broad way of referring to these technologies is “semiconductor,” and the current major semiconductor manufacturers are:
- Samsung Electronics;
- Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC);
- SK Hynix;
- Micron Technology;
- Texas Instruments;
TMSC is a tech foundry for Taiwan producing tech components for various allies. Its partners include AMD, Apple. Bitmain, and Qualcomm. The company aims to deliver the first batch of 7nm products in the first half of 2019. Furthermore, it looks like there are going to be some major launches in the coming months.
The upgrade follows the trend of smaller and more powerful chips every year. AMD has already taken the lead from Intel in the chip department, as Intel is currently working on 10nm chip processors while AMD has already cracked their 7nm technology.
Samsung EUV process nodes
Samsungs is the first company to work on the EUV lithography process, and it seems the Korean company will be reaping the benefits very soon. Meanwhile, their chip-making competitors like TSMC and Intel delay their EUV development.
Samsung’s newest node, the 7nm process, uses Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV). EUV is an efficient way of producing the circuits that yield 20 percent higher performance or 50 percent less power consumption.