Lisa Su’s firm would arrive behind Intel and Apple in the order of access to TSMC’s future 3 nm engraving process, forced to prioritize certain customers. The launch of the Zen 5 architecture could therefore be postponed to 2024-2025.
AMD’s launch schedule could be upset by its founder. This is what we learn from DigiTimes, the information is relayed by WCCFTech. The specialized site reports that TSMC would prioritize orders from Apple and Intel for the future 3 nm protocol, expected at the end of the year. This would be done to the detriment of AMD, which has not invested as much in TSMC… and which would therefore be served much later, by 2024-2025.
As a reminder, the 3 nm engraving process should serve as the basis for the Zen 5 architecture, the launch of which is very likely to be delayed. However, the switch to Zen 5 is an important step in AMD’s roadmap, which must deal with stiffer competition, in particular through the ascended Intel technique seen on Alder Lake chips.
AMD would settle for a new CPU architecture every two years
For AMD, three solutions could be envisaged: negotiate with TSMC to obtain wafers 3 nm earlier, but still serving after Apple and Intel; modify its Zen 5 architecture to enable it to exploit the finesse of 5 nm or 4 nm engravings already offered by the Taiwanese founder; or else wait until 2024-2025, being satisfied with an architecture renewal every two years (Zen 3 in 2020, Zen 4 in 2022 then Zen 5 at the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025).
As WCCFTech points out, the last option would be the most logical. AMD would indeed have great difficulty in obtaining 3 nm waters in number, since it would have to be content with “leftovers” from Intel and Apple. This would result, at the end of the chain, in dribs and drab deliveries. Adapting the Zen 5 architecture to TSMC’s 5 nm or 4 nm engravings could be a solution, but this would considerably reduce the interest of the Zen 5 design, which is supposed to pass a milestone in terms of performance and energy control, precisely thanks to the engraving in 3 nm.
For AMD, ratifying an architecture renewal every two years would be the most logical alternative if Intel and Apple do indeed win most of TSMC’s 3 nm production in 2023. Lisa Su’s firm could still exploit its architecture Zen 4 (engraved in 5 nm) in the meantime. Especially since AMD has an asset to highlight: its V-Cache technology (3D Vertical Cache technology), used recently, especially on the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. The idea would then be to launch Zen 4 chips “classic” from the end of 2022, then to introduce versions boosted with V-Cache during 2023 to boost sales and gain computing power.
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