Yield Problems May Drive Qualcomm, Nvidia Away from TSMC

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Happy

I don't get it. AMD switched to TSMC (at least in part) because they were having problems with Global Foundries' yields. Now this article is acting like the yields of Global Foundries and others are fine and it's TSMC that has all the yield problems. What's really the truth? Or is the truth that as we move down to smaller and smaller transistor sizes it gets harder and harder and the yields are getting correspondingly worse from all the companies like TSMC and Global Foundries?

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JohnP

You pegged it, Happy. It really gets hard and is terribly expensive to shrink die sizes. Its like a factor issue, shrink the die by half and it is four times as expensive and four times harder to do. Just to build a 28nm FAB costs in the neighborhood of $5 billion dollars.
At the 28nm size, the old methods of lithography goes out the window. The size of wavelengths of light MATTER as they are longer than the lines they are drawing. Really esoteric methods are forced to be used to even attempt it.
Intel and IBM can afford to dedicate their FABs directly to their own products exclusively which gives them tremendous economies of scale and much easier time of tweaking the system. NVidia and AMD do not have that exclusivity option which is deadly in their cutthroat business.
As for the OEM FABs, 28nm is such a small part of their business that they are probably tired of listening to NVidia and AMD whine about yields. It takes a long time to iron out such cutting edge optics like this and having good customers complaining to the media does not help.

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poee

If having your own fab for your own product is so much better than using a 3rd-party fab, then why did AMD spin off Global Foundries? I realize they needed money, but who would sell a goose that lays golden eggs just to pay off this year's lease? Seems rather short-sighted. They didn't think that they could realize substantial revenue down the road owning their own fab? If maintaining it was costing them too much, why not sell manufacturing capacity to partners the way TSMC does?

At any rate, I've long wondered why certain clients of TSMC kept suffering through the constant delays, poor yields, and problems with every new node. I think Nvidia, AMD, Qualcomm, and anyone else who depends on their chips being available to meet demand needs to find more than one fab, and certainly alternatives to TSMC.

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devin3627

maybe they have a huge order to the unreleased xbox 720? hmmm all those must be inside a warehouse of a 1 million xbox 720s. haha lol

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devin3627

im kidding

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Papaspud

Can't blame nvidia, they have released the GTX 680, yet they can't sell them because there is no product available. That is a business killer, time to move to new pastures.

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Supall

Doesn't AMD use TSMC as well? Or do they not utilize 28nm? I can't remember.

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biggiebob12345

It'd be nice to see an expose(ay) article on the different foundries. The only 2 I've ever heard about are GF and TSMC.

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Zoandar

It also seems like good business sense not to rely on a single provider for an element crucial to your manufacturing process.

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Jeffredo

I'm glad they're looking to other foundries and providers. TSMC is constantly delaying their releases.

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