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CPU prices could rise as Apple takes 50% of next gen manufacturing

With TSMC's 3nm process set to be the preferred choice for future GPUs and processors, Nvidia, Intel, and AMD have to compete with Apple.

tsmc 3nm apple amd nvidia intel

Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturing colossus, TSMC looks set to dominate chip production for the foreseeable future, as a report claims the company already has huge demand for its upcoming 3nm manufacturing process. However, that same report also suggests Apple has already claimed up to 50% of capacity, potentially limiting space, which could result in a stock shortage of chips made by Intel, Nvidia, and AMD, as well as higher prices.

This could mean that both AMD and Nvidia find themselves scrapping for production capacity to try to make future best graphics card contenders, fending off equally significant demand from car manufacturers and other mobile chip makers. Not only that, but AMD and Intel are also using the process to produce their next gen CPUs.

TSMC has been ruling the roost when it comes to cutting-edge chip production in recent times, with all the current best graphics cards being produced in its chip fabrication plants (fabs). AMD’s CPUs and parts of Intel’s CPUs have also used the company’s processes.

Right now, the company is producing chips at volume using its 5nm and 4nm processes, but its next-gen production will move to 3nm. This process is already in use, but currently only constitutes 15% of the company’s output. It’s expected to be used for Apple’s upcoming A18 Pro chip – rumored to be used in a future iPhone 16 – and is also expected to dominate the chip market in 2025 and onwards.

The very next generation of GPUs, thankfully, are expected to use the company’s existing 5nm process, or at least a refined 4np version of it. That process is still in high demand, but it has also been in use for a few years now, with production capacities much higher overall right now, so we’d expect the likes of the Nvidia Blackwell and AMD RDNA 4 GPUs to have a decent amount of production capacity.

The report regarding TSMC’s healthy-looking order books comes from the Taiwan Economic Daily, which along with mentioning the ramping up of production capacity for 3nm, and the demand for it, confirms that this process is expected to be used for parts of both AMD’s Zen 5 CPUs Intel’s Arrow Lake CPUs later this year.

Meanwhile, the wider picture here further goes to show just how far Intel’s manufacturing has fallen in terms of competitiveness. While Intel is still using its own process for some CPUs and parts of CPUs, it’s telling that TSMC is snapping up all the demand – that’s a far cry from when Intel used to have the very best manufacturing process around, at least for CPUs.

Time will tell whether all this demand does put such a strain on GPU and CPU production, and that we will see any changes in prices. Hopefully, TSMC has sufficient capacity and will be able to share the love enough to keep us PC gamers happy, along with the next gen iPhone buyers.

In the meantime for advice on which graphics card or CPU to buy now, check out our best gaming CPU buying guide.