Weibo is abuzz with talk that Huawei’s HiSilicon is in the advanced stages of developing its next-generation chipset, which will be manufactured on a 3nm node. The source of this appears to be leakster Teme (RODENT950), who dubbed the chip the Kirin 9010.
While Huawei (and all other chipset makers) are undoubtedly planning for the 3nm future, those really are future plans instead of something for later this year – TSMC has stated that it plans to start volume production of 3nm chips in the second half of 2022. And TSMC is the most likely foundry for the next Kirin chip, especially if it is to be built on a cutting edge node.
Anyway, TSMC’s 3nm node, or “N3” as the company calls it, is quite impressive. It will increase transistor density by a whopping 70%, which important as modern chipsets already have more than 10 billion transistors.
According to predictions, the new node will bring 25-30% power saving and a modest 10-15% performance increase. But that’s for a simple die shrink, chipsets built on N3 will be much faster as the new node allows for many more transistors to be crammed into the chip.
So, pay no attention to rumors that the Huawei P50 will use the Kirin 9010. If such a chip exists, which doesn’t appear likely in the first place, it’s definitely not a 3nm part.
Also, TSMC has an N4 process in the works, that one will enter volume production in early 2022. We’re bound to see a few N4 chipsets before the N3 ones arrive.