It looks like Nvidia and AMD are gearing up to produce next-gen 7nm graphics cards, with both companies reportedly snapping up any spare 7nm capacity TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) has.
Lots of tech companies use TSMC to build their chips, and for quite a while Apple was its biggest customer for 7nm chips. However, Apple is now planning to move to using 5nm chips in its products, which could free up TSMC to work with its other customers. It seems Nvidia and AMD aren’t wasting any time in grabbing that opportunity.
The revelation that Nvidia and AMD are increasing their orders with TSMC comes from a report by DigiTimes, which says that "A ramp-up in short lead-time orders placed by AMD and Nvidia will allow TSMC to post relatively strong results compared to other foundries in the first half of 2020, according to industry sources."
As Wccftech reports, it now seems that AMD is on track to become TSMC’s largest 7nm customer by the second half of 2020, overtaking Qualcomm and HiSilicon.
Preparing for battle
The report also claims that Nvidia has bought up a lot of freed-up 7nm capacity, suggesting it’s preparing for the launch of its next-gen Ampere graphics cards. Wccftech also claims that it has heard from a trusted source that Nvidia was planning on revealing a new server GPU at its GTC conference – which ended up getting cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
We might have seen these at Computex 2020, which has been postponed until September 2020 due to the pandemic. While this seems to have impacted the launch plans for both companies, it appears in the background they are both continuing to build up their inventories in preparation for their inevitable next-gen battle.
In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have helped them out, somewhat, as it has caused other companies to scale down (or cancel) their orders with TSMC, hence the increase in its available 7nm capacity – which has now been bought up by the two GPU giants.
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Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.