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Apple to remove 5nm wafers from NVIDIA and AMD at TSMC

Strange as it may sound, Apple is going to drown two of the tech world’s biggest multinationals for moving faster. At least that’s what Counterpoint’s report on TSMC details, will AMD and NVIDIA move to Samsung for good?

AMD and NVIDIA go from being preferred to minority customers

What the report details is worrying, without a doubt, but there is also a glimmer of hope, which if it is fulfilled, could end the problems that we are going to raise next. But first, let’s start by analyzing how TSMC’s production is distributed across its nodes N7, N7 + and N6, which are currently the most profitable in the company in terms of revenue.

As you can see, AMD is the majority partner of TSMC with 27%, followed by a surprising NVIDIA with 21% for its HPC GPUs exclusively (they have to sell a lot seen what is seen) after which and already at a long distance we find Qualcomm, Mediatek or Intel, for example.

It is surprising that Intel is already established here in this graph, since the agreement should still be finalizing or closing in the best of cases, but the production reserve data is already on the table and, having seen what we have seen, it will come in quite strong at the market with TSMC hand in hand and that 7%.

NVIDIA is also surprising, since it is a very high percentage of chips, considering that the vast majority are manufactured by Samsung at 8 nm for their gaming GPUs, so the HPC sector has to be operating at full capacity without a doubt.

Apple has 53% of production at 5nm by 2021

TSMC 5 nm 2021-2022

The problem is looking to the future. Apple has been ahead of everyone by launching the M1 at 5 nm and apparently it will continue to be the star chip in 2021. This means that those of the apple have reserved since last year nothing less than the 53% of the production of said node, which leaves Qualcomm in second place with a 24% already AMD and NVIDIA with a 5% and 3% respectively.

Can both companies pay for their future sales with that percentage? Obviously not. And they will not be able to do it because the volume production will not be greater in 5 nm than in 7 nm as at present, since that will arrive in 2022 or at the earliest at the end of this year, too late to award wafers with precision and foresight future sales.

So AMD and NVIDIA are definitely moving to Samsung? It is the big question and where everyone has been speculating for almost a month, to the point that there are rumors with a very serious basis for reliable leakers. The big question is, why is there no official confirmation on this?

Mainly because of Apple and the delay of 3nm TSMC. TSMC’s nearly 6-month delay with its latest node at FinFET has left Cupertino in a move that may be damaging to their interests: leaving 5nm and production to go to 3nm could mean very low volume or a very late arrival after the M1 to the market.

So Apple has the upper hand and NVIDIA and AMD have to see them coming. If Apple doesn’t jump to 3nm and release 5nm production the two companies could and should fall into the arms of Samsung, which is already rubbing its hands and is actually asking for many more EUV scanners to ASML by the end of this year.