By Mark Lapedus
Chipmakers are currently ramping up 16nm/14nm finFET processes, with 10nm and 7nm just around the corner.
The industry also is working on 5nm. TSMC hopes to deliver a 5nm process by 2020. GlobalFoundries, Intel and Samsung are doing R&D for that node.
But 5nm technology presents a multitude of unknowns and challenges. For one thing, the exact timing and specs of 5nm remain cloudy. Then, there are several technical and economic roadblocks. And even if 5nm happens, it’s likely that only a few companies will be able to afford it.
“My current assumption is that 5nm will happen, but it won’t hit high-volume manufacturing until after 2020,” said Bob Johnson, an analyst at Gartner. “If I were to guess, I’d say 2021 to 2022.”