AMD is set to become TSMC's biggest 7nm customer in 2020

In the second half of 2020, AMD will double their 7nm orders making them TSMC’s largest customer of 7nm chips according to some forecasts. Going into 2020, TSMC’s factories (above) have the capacity to produce 110,000 WPM (wafers per month) of 7nm chips and by the end of the year, they’ll be making 140,000 WPM. AMD will be buying about 20% of that capacity, according to Apple Daily.

Presently, AMD doesn’t make it into the top five at the TSMC club. Apple is their largest 7nm customer but they are expected to move to the 5nm node for the A14 SoC, taking two-thirds of TSMC’s 5nm capacity.

Huawei’s HiSilicon, Qualcomm and SuperMicro are planning 25,000 WPM reservations while MediaTek is going for about 20,000. That leaves roughly 10% of TSMC’s capacity for their other customers, including Nvidia who’ll be looking at 7nm for their Ampere GPUs.

AMD’s flagship Zen 2 Ryzen processors were such good value that they outpaced everyone’s expectations, and AMD ran out of stock at launch. No doubt the extra fab space will fix this for Zen 3.

AMD is set to become TSMC's biggest 7nm customer in 2020 1

Mindfactory, Germany’s largest PC hardware retailer, publishes all their sales data and as you can see from the graph above, Zen 2 brought out all the enthusiasts hiding in the shadows. It was a big enough leap that those on long-term upgrade cycles decided it was time for a change. AMD didn’t just steal half of Intel’s customers; they significantly increased the size of the market for 2019.

But that may also mean there’s not much room to expand in the desktop CPU market, so what’s AMD going to use all that 7nm fab space for? Consoles, possibly.

The PlayStation 5 is already confirmed to be using AMD’s 7nm Zen 2 and Navi, and the Xbox Series X is expected to do the same. Both will sell in outrageous volume, no doubt justifying AMD’s large purchase and making them a tidy profit.

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