While Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge processors remain the immediate focus of the world, the Santa Clara-based chip maker is already laying the groundwork for the coming of Ivy Bridge, the 22nm die shrink of Sandy Bridge expected to hit the market in late 2011 or early 2012. Ivy Bridge processors will be fabricated at four of Intel's plants in Oregon and Arizona. However, a Digitimes report suggests that Intel might outsource the production of Ivy Bridge's chipset consort.
Starting in 2011, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will begin volume production of its 28nm manufacturing process, Digitimes reports.
TSMC has been working hard to get its 28nm equipment up to snuff at its Fab 12 in the Hsinchu Science Park. By the end of 2009, TSMC rated its 28nm equipment at less than a 50 percent maturity level. That number now stands at over 90 percent, which basically means that all the proper adjustments have been made. Typically the smaller the manufacturing process, the lower the maturity level, and then it becomes a series of tweaks and alterations to get everything in order.
There are already numerous clients lined up for TSMC's 28nm manufacturing process, including Altera, which plans to tap into 28nm for its low-cost and mid-range product lines. Other clients include AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Xilinx.
British chip designer ARM, which currently enjoys an almost unchallenged run in the mobile and embedded device markets, has announced a new deal with TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company). Termed the “broadest agreement” between the two companies that happen to go back a long way, it will yield nimbler and more power-efficient chips.
"I am pleased that ARM and TSMC will be working together to enable ARM processor based SoCs leveraging both companies' advanced technologies," said Mike Inglis, executive vice president and general manager, ARM Processor Division.
Much ado has been made over the chip shortage that apparently affected Nvidia's Fermi architecture, but they're not the only ones dealing with a tight supply. According to DigiTimes, supply for AMD chipsets is also running tight. So much so, that AMD is letting foundry partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) tap into its 55nm capacity reserved for chipsets to help ease current GPU shortages.
You probably noticed that AMD's high-end HD 5870 and HD 5970 videocards were pretty tough to come by in the second half of 2009, which DigiTimes says was the result of low yields on TSMC's 40nm process. As a result, graphics card partners placed more orders for 55nm Radeon HD 4000 series parts than they otherwise would have.
TSMC's recent 40nm yields have been improving at a steady clip, which should help ease the tight supply of both 40nm and 55nm parts, but part of this is being offset by high demand, DigiTimes says. As it stands, AMD's chipset shortage will likely last throughout the third quarter, and possibly into the fourth.
According to reports, the board of directors of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has green lighted the company's request to allocate $1.65 billion to expand capacity in 2010.
Some $210 million of that budget will be used to construct a new chip plant, while $385 million will go towards expanding and upgrading eight-inch wafer fab capacity. The rest will be used to expand advanced process capacity at Fab 12 and Fab 14, TSMC says.
TSMC is the world's largest dedicated semiconductor foundry and operates a 150mm wafer fab, five 200mm wafer fabs, and two 300mm wafer "gigafabs," which produce 130nm and smaller chips. With the massive budget approval, TSMC is obviously confident about the semiconductor market and economic outlook.
Some recent reports have suggested that Nvidia is planning to launch their new 40nm GeForce GT 220 and GeForce G210 GPUs at the end of September.
Until now, Nvidia has had to delay the launch of their 40nm GPUs due to low yield rates from TSMC. But, recently the rate has improved a great deal, allowing Nvidia to schedule a launch before the end of the year and most importantly – in time for the holidays!
According to some recent rumors that have surfaced over at DigiTimes, Intel will be using some intellectual property from their new foundry partner, TSMC, in order to help fill out its upcoming ultramobile chipset.
The intellectual property, currently codenamed Langwell, will work as the southbridge for Intel’s Atom successor, which is only known by the codename Moorestown. The diagram above displays how an Atom-based CPU core, a GPU core, a memory controller, and two video processing blocks can be worked around the Moorestown platform.
No word yet if this rumor is true, but the evidence looks pretty solid.
In the world of CPUs, die shrinks are usually precursors to a better all around chip, whether that means it runs cooler, overclocks higher, or races faster. Intel, AMD, and IBM are constantly at work trying to hit that next milestone, but what about consumer gadgets?
Shrunken dies are particularly important for portable electronics and handheld gadgets, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the world's largest contract chip makers, says its on the ball. The company announced plans to start using 28nm technology in its fabrication plants by 2010.
"Product differentiation, faster time-to-market and investment optimization are the three most important values TSMC delivers to our customers," said Jason Chen, TSMC's VP. "In support of these values, we are developing this comprehensive 28nm technology family so that it offers choices, depending on the customer applications and performance requirements."
According to TSMC, its upcoming 28nm chips will run 50 percent faster while consuming anywhere from 30 to 50 percent less power than current generation 40nm parts. The main target for these new chips will be the cellular industry, but both Nvidia and Texas Instruments also have a close relationship with TSMC. If TSMC's claims hold true, that could be good news for Nvidia and the future of its graphics cards.