AMD 7nm Zen 2 And Navi Supply Should Be Plentiful From Underutilized TSMC

AMD is going all-in on 7-nanometer manufacturing for both its CPUs and GPUs, and it doesn't look like the company will have to worry about low inventories. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reportedly seen a reduction in 7nm orders from Apple, HiSilicon, and Qualcomm, and subsequently will not be operating at full capacity on its 7nm assembly lines.

Looking ahead, AMD has its Zen 2 processor and Navi GPU architectures around the bend, both of which are being built on a 7nm manufacturing process. It's important to note that AMD does not build the actual chips—it's a fabless outfit that designs the silicon, and then has companies like TSMC and GlobalFoundries produce the wafers.

Citing a Commercial Times report in China, Digitimes says TSMC received lower-than-expected orders for 7nm, for the first half of 2019. It's estimated the semiconductor maker will end up utilizing around 80-90 percent of its total 7nm processor capacity during the first six months of next year, as the three aforementioned companies are being cautious with their 7nm plans.

What this ultimately means is that AMD is in good shape going forward. Not only is the company fleshing out a strong architecture on the CPU side and gearing up to launch a next-generation GPU, it also won't have to contend with shortages on the supply side. This will help avoid a so-called paper launch, and should keep prices stable as well.

It's rumored that Zen 2 will offer around a 13 percent uplift in performance compared to current generation Zen parts, as it relates to scientific tasks. We also expect Zen 2 to deliver faster supported memory speeds and higher base and boost clocks across the board (as afforded by the move to 7nm). Improved power efficiency is a reasonable expectation as well.

Zen 2 is already starting to come into view, too. Earlier this week, a CPU sales agency working for AMD in South Korea essentially confirmed two upcoming Zen 2 chips, the Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 5 3600X. The confirmation came as part of a contest that tasked participants with guessing each CPU's Cinebench scores.