While smartphone processor manufacturers are already building chips on 5nm and preparing to move to a smaller manufacturing process of 3n or 4nm, IBM announces that it has created the first processors with 2nm architecture. These should be the most efficient processors so far, with low power consumption. IBM’s processor integrates 50 billion transistors into a nail-sized chip.
The 2nm manufacturing process will not be used in mass production in the near future
According to IBM, the 2nm architecture brings significant improvements, both in terms of performance, but especially in terms of power consumption. The new processors can provide a 45% performance compared to the current ones, on 7nm, with a 75% lower power consumption. However, this is the ideal case, as most processors probably offer more power with higher power consumption, or less performance with better power consumption optimizations.
However, the benefits could be major for mobile devices. The US company says that 2nm processors could provide autonomy of up to four days on a single charge on smartphones, while laptops could also last a few days of use without the need for charging. In fact, other laptops today with 5 or 7 nm processors and ARM architecture already offer over 10-15 hours of use.
Currently, the most efficient high-performance processors available commercially are Apple A14 and M1, Kirin 9000 from Huawei and Snapdragon 888 from Qualcom, along with Exynos 2100. All use the 5nm manufacturing process, and in 2021, the models that will Replacements are still expected on 5nm, but using an improved manufacturing process. It will be a few more years before the TSMC and Samsung factories, which produce all these models, move to a 2nm manufacturing process. In fact, IBM does not have mass production capacity for this manufacturing process either.
TSMC will launch 3 and 4 nm manufacturing processes next year, while still working on developing a 2nm process. Of course, the first devices to adopt miniaturized processors will be those for mobile devices.
On PC, AMD, Intel and NVIDIA have not yet switched to even 5nm. AMD has advanced the most in this direction, using a 7nm process for processors and graphics chips, and NVIDIA is using an 8nm process from Samsung for the RTX 30 series. Intel currently has 10nm processors on ultra-portable laptops and on 14nm for high-performance laptops and desktop PCs. The deadline for Intel to switch to 7nm is currently set for 2023, the year in which we may see the first 2nm processors on the market.