News Posts matching "TSMC"

Return to Keyword Browsing

GlobalFoundries Looking for Buyers, Samsung and SK Hynix Seem Interested

GlobalFoundries is looking to be sold lock-stock-and-barrel by its investors, after heavily downsizing and parting with some of its Singapore-based assets recently. Once promising to lead the market with 7 nm and 5 nm advancements, the company crashed out of the sub-10 nm race, making AMD, its biggest customer, look for 7 nm supplies from TSMC. GlobalFoundries is the world's third largest semiconductor foundry service provider, with an 8.4 percent market share, behind TSMC and Samsung. Intel doesn't offer manufacturing services, as its fabs are fully dedicated to manufacturing its own products.

GlobalFoundries's main investor is Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Technology, which holds a 90 percent stake in the company. Korean semiconductor companies Samsung and SK Hynix are reportedly in the foray to buy out GlobalFoundries, as it would give them a turnkey presence in the US, with its Upstate New York facilities. The company is unlikely to entertain bids from Chinese companies, as CFIUS would likely block the sale. "Global Foundries is unlikely to be bought by a Chinese company such as SMIC in that the U.S. government is keeping China in check in various industries," said an industry insider, adding, "The most potential candidates include South Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, and Samsung Electronics can increase its share in the market to 23 percent at once if it takes over Global Foundries."

TSMC Revises Financial Outlook, Accounts for January Chemical Contamination and Lost Silicon

TSMC has revised its financial outlook following the recent contamination of its 14 B Gigafab, which saw between 10,000 and 30,000 wafers affected. It seems that TSMC has needed to scrap a higher number of wafers than it had initially calculated (no word on where exactly on those 10,000-30,000 spectrum that number is). This has resulted in an expected, lowered first-quarter 2019 revenues by about US$550 million, gross margin by 2.6%, operating margin by 3.2%, and EPS (Earnings Per Share) by NT$0.42, the foundry house said.

TSMC said it expects to deliver these chips in the second quarter, making up for most of the lost revenue - it's not so much of a loss, but more of a delay in earnings. As it comes to the actual, final impact of the event on TSMC's operating profits, the company estimates a reduced gross margin by 0.2%, operating margin by 0.2%, and EPS by NT$0.08. TSMC said that it has been in constant conversation with customers, and has already scheduled replacement deliveries - surprising absolutely no one.

TSMC 7nm EUV Process to Enter Mass-Production in March 2019

TSMC is giving final touches to set its flagship 7 nanometer EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography) silicon fabrication node at its highest state of readiness for business, called mass-production. At this state, the node can mass-produce products for TSMC's customers. TSMC had taped out its first 7 nm EUV chips in October 2018. The company will also begin risk-production of the more advanced 5 nm node in April, staying on schedule. Mass production of 5 nm chips could commence in the first half of 2020.

The 7 nm EUV node augments TSMC's 7 nm DUV (deep ultraviolet lithography) node that's been already active since April 2018, and producing chips for AMD, Apple, HiSilicon, and Xilinx. At the turn of the year, 7 nm DUV made up 9 percent of TSMC's shipments. With the new node going online, 7 nm (DUV + EUV) could make up 25 percent of TSMC's output by the end of 2019.

No AMD Radeon "Navi" Before October: Report

AMD "Navi" is the company's next-generation graphics architecture succeeding "Vega" and will leverage the 7 nm silicon fabrication process. It was originally slated to launch mid-2019, with probable unveiling on the sidelines of Computex (early-June). Cowcotland reports that AMD has delayed its plans to launch "Navi" all the way to October (Q4-2019). The delay probably has something to do with AMD's 7 nm foundry allocation for the year.

AMD is now fully reliant on TSMC to execute its 7 nm product roadmap, which includes its entire 2nd generation EPYC and 3rd generation Ryzen processors based on the "Zen 2" architecture, and to a smaller extent, GPUs based on its 2nd generation "Vega" architecture, such as the recently launched Radeon VII. We expect the first "Navi" discrete GPU to be a lean, fast-moving product that succeeds "Polaris 30." In addition to 7 nm, it could incorporate faster SIMD units, higher clock-speeds, and a relatively cost-effective memory solution, such as GDDR6.

AMD Updates Wafer Supply Agreement with GlobalFoundries to Free Itself of "7nm Tax"

AMD in its Q4-2018 Earnings Report disclosed that it has amended its Wafer Supply Agreement (WSA) with GlobalFoundries that frees it from paying a "7 nanometer tax." Under the older version of WSA, AMD would have had to pay a penalty to GlobalFoundries if it sourced processors from any other semiconductor foundry. The company got preferential pricing in return for the exclusivity. With GlobalFoundries discontinuing development of cutting-edge processes such as 7 nm and 5 nm, it makes sense for AMD to seek out other foundry partners, such as TSMC, and an amendment to the WSA was needed. With this amendment in place, AMD can go ahead and source 7 nm dies from TSMC without paying penalties to GlobalFoundries (GloFo).

With its "Zen 2" microarchitecture, AMD is going big on multi-chip modules, in which only those components that can tangibly benefit from the switch to the 7 nm node, namely the CPU cores, would be built on 7 nm dies, called "CPU chiplets," while components that don't need the miniaturization just yet, such as the processor's memory controller, PCIe root-complex, etc., will be built on separate dies called "I/O controllers." These dies will continue to be 14 nm, and likely supplied by GloFo. Final packaging of 7 nm CPU chiplets from TSMC, and 14 nm I/O controllers from GloFo, will happen at GloFo's facilities in China or Malaysia. AMD in its amendment committed to purchasing 14 nm and 12 nm chips from GloFo between 2019 and 2021, which means the MCM approach to processors is here to stay.

TSMC Fab 14 B Hit With Chemical Contamination; NVIDIA, MEDIATEK, Huawei, Hisilicon Lines Affected

TSMC's Fab 14 B has been affected with a chemical contamination that has put a considerable number of wafers in suspend mode. Fab 14 B essentially produces 12 and 16 nm, 300 mm wafers for 14 companies, including NVIDIA, MEDIATEK, Huawei and Hisilicon. Reportedly, between 10,000 and 30,000 wafers have been affected (though not scrapped, so there might be salvageable bits and pieces here and there). Of course, every wafer will have to go through a thorough certification process, and the fab will have to go down for the company to purge any remains of these botched chemical compounds.

To put things into perspective, though, Fab 14 B is one of TSMC's Gigafabs, which have a rated monthly output of 100k wafers - so production worth between three and ten days could be affected already, with the additional downtime accruing lost potential fabrication. This event isn't expected to significantly affect availability of any of the products for any of the companies, but these are becoming, at the very least, late inventory - this could well play into some speculative increases in pricing from some players in the market.

TSMC's 7 nm Fabrication Becomes Biggest Share of Revenue in 4Q18

TSMC's introduction of its 7 nm fabrication technology has essentially propelled the company to silicon manufacturing heights. Every company - particularly in the mobile space - is after the most minute increase in transistor density and power consumption improvements the latest and greatest can bring. AMD themselves have become a major TSMC partner in pursuit of its newfound competitiveness against Intel, and has apparently leveraged the 7 nm process as a way to keep its high-performance GPU offering minimally competitive with NVIDIA's solution - at a much lesser die area requirement, if the Radeon VII vs RTX 2080 estimates are something to go by.

As a consequence of the market interest for the 7 nm process, it has rapidly become TSMC's biggest revenue generator as soon as 4Q18. The company said that 7 nm already generated 10% of the company's entire 2018 revenue, despite the process only having been ramped up in June of the same year. Other less dense technologies still generate a lot of revenue for the company, and are likely much higher volume. However, TSMC is most likely riding on much increased ASP for 7 nm wafers than for other technologies.

A Sprinkle of Salt: AMD Radeon VII Reported to Only be Available in Reference Design, no Custom Treatment

A report via Tom's Hardware.de says that AMD's plans for the upcoming Radeon VII are somewhat one-dimensional, in that only reference designs will be available for this particular rendition of the Vega architecture. And this doesn't mean"initial availability" only on reference cards, like NVIDIA has been doing with their Founder's editions; the report claims that at no point in time will there actually be a custom-designed Radeon VII. The quantity of Radeon VII GPUs will apparently be "strictly limited" come launch - a likely result of the decision to make use of TSMC's 7 nm process, which will have to serve not only AMD's Ryzen 3000 and Epyc CPUs when those are actually launched, but all of TSMC's other clients.

This is in contrast with AMD CEO Lisa Su's words during her CES keynote, who said that Radeon VII would be available from "several leading add-in board partners plan to offer the cards". According to a Tom's Hardware.de Taiwanese source, "You cannot leak anything that does not exist" in regards to third-party designs. And another Chinese source said "the quantity of Radeon VII is strictly limited… not sure if AMD wants to open AIB to have an own design later".

AMD Radeon VII Detailed Some More: Die-size, Secret-sauce, Ray-tracing, and More

AMD pulled off a surprise at its CES 2019 keynote address, with the announcement of the Radeon VII client-segment graphics card targeted at gamers. We went hands-on with the card earlier this week. The company revealed a few more technical details of the card in its press-deck for the card. To begin with, the company talks about the immediate dividends of switching from 14 nm to 7 nm, with a reduction in die-size from 495 mm² on the "Vega 10" silicon to 331 mm² on the new "Vega 20" silicon. The company has reworked the die to feature a 4096-bit wide HBM2 memory interface, the "Vega 20" MCM now features four 32 Gbit HBM2 memory stacks, which make up the card's 16 GB of memory. The memory clock has been dialed up to 1000 MHz from 945 MHz on the RX Vega 64, which when coupled with the doubled bus-width, works out to a phenomenal 1 TB/s memory bandwidth.

We know from AMD's late-2018 announcement of the Radeon Instinct MI60 machine-learning accelerator based on the same silicon that "Vega 20" features a total of 64 NGCUs (next-generation compute units). To carve out the Radeon VII, AMD disabled 4 of these, resulting in an NGCU count of 60, which is halfway between the RX Vega 56 and RX Vega 64, resulting in a stream-processor count of 3,840. The reduced NGCU count could help AMD harvest the TSMC-built 7 nm GPU die better. AMD is attempting to make up the vast 44 percent performance gap between the RX Vega 64 and the GeForce RTX 2080 with a combination of factors.

NVIDIA to Implement 7nm EUV Node for its 2020 GPUs

NVIDIA will implement the 7 nanometer EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography to build its future generation of GPUs slated for 2020, according to Japanese publication MyNavi.jp. The GPU giant could be among the first customers besides IBM, to contract Samsung for 7 nm EUV mass-production of GPUs. IBM will use the Korean semiconductor giant for manufacturing Z-series processors and FPGAs. Samsung announced in October 2018 that it will begin risk-production on its 7 nm EUV node in early-2019.

An earlier report from 2018 also forecast NVIDIA implementing 7 nm DUV (deep ultraviolet) node of TSMC for its 2019 GPU lineup. With news of the company now working with Samsung on 7 nm EUV for 2020, this seems less likely. It's possible that NVIDIA could somehow split its next generation GPU lineup between TSMC 7 nm DUV and Samsung 7 nm EUV, with the latter being used for chips with higher transistor-counts, taking advantage of the node's higher deliverable transistor densities.

TSMC Cleared to Build New 3 nm Manufacturing Factory in Southern Taiwan

The world's largest contract semiconductor manufacturing company, TSMC, has been cleared to commence construction of a new 3 nm chip factory at the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan. The new factory is expected to use 20 percent renewable energy and 50 percent recycled water.

The factory's environmental impact assessment was accepted by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) on Dec. 19, after concerns were raised about use of water and power sources. TSMC is expected to invest NT$600 million (US$19.45 million) in the project, with construction to begin in 2022. Production is planned to start in late 2022 or early 2023. At the same site, TSMC is also building a 5 nm chip factory, which is expected to be up and running in late 2019 or early 2020.

TSMC's 7nm Production Likely to Be Underutilized in 2019 as Smartphone Chip Demand Weakens

DigiTimes, citing a Chinese-language Commercial Times report, cites TSMC's 7 nm foundry capacity as likely being underutilized in 2019. After TSMC announced it expected cutting-edge 7 nm designs to correspond to around 20% of the company's revenues in 2019, the company will likely have to review those projections, as lower demand from smartphone chip manufacturers will likely leave TSMC with less actual output than that which it can churn out.

Due to a cutback in orders placed by Apple, HiSilicon and Qualcomm, concerns regarding TSMC's ability to be the sole 7 nm chip fabrication tech for the industry can likely be laid to rest. That the smartphone market is reaching saturation is a well-known quantity - it's becoming harder and harder to cram new technologies that justify the yearly smartphone upgrade that most companies vie for - and one of the reasons for the launch of various brand-specific smartphone subscription services. The difference isn't scandalous - TSMC will still be making use of 80-90% of its total 7nm process capacity during the first half of 2019, the report quoted industry sources as saying.

Micron and Achronix Deliver Next-Generation FPGAs Powered by GDDR6 Memory

Micron Technology, Inc., today announced that its GDDR6 memory, Micron's fastest and most powerful graphics memory, will be the high-performance memory of choice supporting Achronix's next-generation stand-alone FPGA products built on TSMC 7nm process technology. GDDR6 is optimized for a variety of demanding applications, including machine learning, that require multi-terabit memory bandwidth and will enable Achronix to offer FPGAs at less than half the cost of FPGAs with comparable memory solutions.

Achronix's high-performance FPGAs, combined with GDDR6 memory, are the industry's highest-bandwidth memory solution for accelerating machine learning workloads in data center and automotive applications.

This new joint solution addresses many of the inherent challenges in deep neural networks, including storing large data sets, weight parameters and activations in memory. The underlying hardware needs to store, process and rapidly move data between the processor and memory. In addition, it needs to be programmable to allow more efficient implementations for constantly changing machine learning algorithms. Achronix's next-generation FPGAs have been optimized to process machine learning workloads and currently are the only FPGAs that offer support for GDDR6 memory.

Intel to Outsource Entry-level CPU and Chipset Fabrication to TSMC

Intel is facing a manufacturing crisis, in which demand has far outstripped supply, and the company is firing up all its silicon fabrication facilities to manufacture 14 nm products, mainly processors under the Core and Xeon brands. We've been hearing reports since early-September of Intel seeking out third-party foundries such as TSMC to manufacture its chipsets. We now get confirmation that TSMC will also manufacture entry-level Intel processors under brands such as Atom, Celeron, and Pentium Silver SoCs, leaving the company's socketed processors to Intel's fabs. DigiTimes does not name the third-party foundry as TSMC, but mentions that the only company that meets Intel's requirements at the moment is TSMC.

TSMC to Tape Out 100 7 nm Chip Designs by 2019

TSMC has become the de facto leader when it comes to manufacturing technology. The company is on the forefront of new process technologies, and provides solutions for some of the biggest players in the industry, like Apple, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and AMD, just to name a few. This process leadership means that TSMC is being courted by numerous fabless silicon designers so as to produce their silicon chips with the latest process technologies - part of the reason why TSMC has seen increasing revenues and profits forecasts.

By the end of 2018, TSMC will have taped out 50 7 nm designs, and plans to double that number in 2019. And these design wins don't stand solely on the shoulders of TSMC's first 7 nm technology (which should account for 20% of the company's revenue by 2019); the company will also tape-out chips built upon their 7 nm + EUV process, which will begin production in 2019.

Intel Could Have Killed 10 nm Process According to SemiAccurate Report [Updated]

Update: Intel has made an official statement on Twitter denying this and explaining that "Media reports published today that Intel is ending work on the 10nm process are untrue. We are making good progress on 10nm. Yields are improving consistent with the timeline we shared during our last earnings report."

Intel has been talking for years about the leap to the 10 nm process, a technology whose launch has been delayed time and time again. We were supposed to start seeing these microprocessors in 2016, but that date was postponed to 2017 and later to 2018. The manufacturer assumed the problems once again this year, but made a new promise: you will have 10 nm processors by the end of 2019.

The market seems to continue to trust Intel despite everything. Others, on the other hand, say that Intel is about to announce the total cancellation of this project. You have to take this news of Charlie Demerjian in SemiAccurate not with a grain of salt, but with a lot of grains of salt, because according to their sources, Intel would have already killed the process of 10 nm. This analyst has maintained the theory that Intel would never take that step, and in his analysis indicates that in his opinion this is the right decision. Evidently there has not been any official confirmation or comment from Intel, so for the moment Demerjian's statement raises many doubts and could be mere speculation.

TSMC to be the Sole Supplier of Apple A13 SoCs in 2019

Even as AMD plans to dedicate 7 nm CPU and GPU manufacturing entirely to TSMC, reports are emerging that Apple could make the Taiwanese silicon fabrication giant the sole supplier of its 7 nm A13 SoC, which powers the next generation iPhone and iPad devices. Manufacturing of the A13 could commence in 2019 to keep pace with Apple's roadmaps. TSMC is currently the most strongly placed semiconductor foundry for 7 nm EUV manufacturing, after GlobalFoundries crashed out, and Samsung is trailing behind with a contract to manufacture only a portion of Qualcomm's next-generation Snapdragon SoCs.

TSMC Increases Industry Foothold With 11.6% Increase in Revenue for Q3 2018

TSMC has quickly (over a span of years, but still) become the de-facto silicon manufacturing giant in the industry. They produce silicon-based solutions for almost all the significant tech companies (NVIDIA, AMD, Apple, Qualcomm, including the silicon manufacturing leader of yonder, Intel), and are on the forefront of new fabrication technologies. Just today we've covered how they are already well on their way to their second-gen 7 nm (N7+) fabrication technology with usage of EUV, and carving their path forward for 5 nm (N5).

TSMC 7 nm Second-Generation EUV Chips Taped Out, 5 nm Risk Production in April 2019

TSMC, the world's biggest contract semiconductor manufacturer, who is at the forefront of 7 nanometer production has just announced that they are making good progress with their second generation of 7 nm technology "N7+", using EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography). A first design for N7+ from an unnamed customer has been taped out. The company's first-gen 7 nm production is running well already, with final products, like Apple iPhone already in the hands of customers.

While not fully EUV yet, the N7+ process will see limited EUV usage, for up to four non-critical layers, which gives the company an opportunity to figure out how to make best use of the new technology, how to ramp up for mass production and how to fix the little quirks that show up as soon as you move from the lab to the factory.

Core i7-8700K Now at $400 as Intel CPU Prices Continue to Boil

Intel's mainstream-desktop flagship Core i7-8700K processor is now retailing north of USD $400, a departure from its launch price of $359, which erodes its competitiveness to the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, which can be had for as low as $319. Prices of 8th generation Core processors remain on the boil across the board as reports emerge of the industry facing supply shortages from Intel. In its defense, Intel claims that the shortage is triggered by a spike in demand, and not a drop in supply.

The company raised its capex by $1 billion YoY to increase its manufacturing output, and has even outsourced manufacturing of non-processor components such as chipsets, to other semiconductor foundries such as TSMC. Prices of other popular SKUs are also on the rise. The Core i5-8400, which launched at $184, is now hovering $225, which is supposed to be the launch price of the i5-8600 (non-K). The i5-8600K is fast approaching the $300-mark. Prices of AMD Ryzen processors remain not just stable, but also a touch lower than their launch prices.

Intel At Least 5 Years Behind TSMC and May Never Catch Up: Analyst

Intel's in-house sub-10 nanometer silicon fabrication dreams seem more distant by the day. Raymond James analyst Chris Caso, in an interview with CNBC stated that Intel's 10 nm process development could set the company back by at least 5 years behind TSMC. In its most recent financial results call, Intel revised its 10 nm outlook to reflect that the first 10 nm processors could only come out by the end of 2019. "Intel's biggest strategic problem is their delay on 10nm production - we don't expect a 10nm server chip from Intel for two years," analyst Chris Caso said in a note to clients Tuesday. "10nm delays create a window for competitors, and the window may never again close."

By that time, Intel will have missed several competitive milestones behind TSMC, which is in final stages of quantitatively rolling out its 7 nm process. Caso predicts that by the time Intel goes sub-10 nm (7 nm or something in that nanoscopic ballpark), TSMC and Samsung could each be readying their 5 nm or 3 nm process roll-outs. A Rosenblatt Securities report that came out late-August was even more gloomy about the situation at Intel foundry. It predicted that foundry delays could set the company back "5, 6, or even 7" years behind rivals. Intel is already beginning offload some of its 14 nm manufacturing to TSMC. Meanwhile, AMD is reportedly planning to entirely rely on TSMC to make its future generations of "Zen" processors.

Clues Gather Regarding Possible New AMD Polaris (Re)Revision Launch

Clues have been popping here and there regarding a possible new Polaris revision being launched by AMD in the (relatively) near future. Speculation first reared its head regarding a revised "Polaris 30" silicon, allegedly being built for TSMC's 12 nm process - not unlike AMD's 2000-series Ryzen CPUs. The company has been enamored with trying out and adapting new foundry processes for its products as soon as possible, now that they've found themselves fabless and not having to directly support the R&D costs necessary for process node development themselves.

Some publications are pointing towards a 15% performance improvement being achieved on the back of this process change for Polaris - which, if achieved only via a new process implementation, would require clock speed increases that are higher than that. AMD has already launched their revised Polaris 20 RX 500 series, which built upon their RX 400 series (and Polaris 10) by upping the clocks as well. A smaller node would likely be associated with higher yields and decreased costs per finished chip, which would allow AMD to further reduce pricing/stabilize pricing while introducing a new product generation to tide users over until Navi is finally ready.

Intel to Move Select Chipset Fabrication Back to 22nm in Wake of 14 nm Silicon Constraints

Things seem to be taking turns to the worse at Intel in accordance to Murphy's law. Not only was the company hit with a multitude of security flaws embedded in their CPUs, which puts their michroarchitecture design chops in jeopardy, but now they also have to contend with silicon fabrication snags. That Intel's 14 nm fabs are being hit with overwhelming demand for their output capacity is already a known quantity, with rising prices of Intel mainstream CPUs and reports of the company outsourcing 14 nm chip production to TSMC in a bid to increase availability - a first since the company became vertically integrated with both design and manufacturing of their own chips.

AMD Readying a 10-core AM4 Processor to Thwart Core i9-9900K?

To sustain its meteoric rise at the stock markets, AMD needs to keep investors convinced it has a competitive edge over Intel, even if it means investing heavily on short-term roadmap changes. According to an Elchapuzas Informatico article, AMD could be working on a new 10-core/20-thread processor for the AM4 platform, to compete with the upcoming Core i9-9900K 8-core/16-thread processor from Intel. The said processor is being labeled "Ryzen 7 2800X" and plastered over CineBench nT screenshots, where due to the sheer weight of its 10 cores, it tops the nT test in comparison to Intel's mainstream-desktop processors, including the 2P Xeon X5650 12-core/24-thread.

The Forbes article that cites the Elchapuzas Informatico, however, is skeptical that AMD could make such a short-sighted product investment. It believes that development of a 10-core die on existing "Zen+" architecture could warrant a massive redesign of the CCX (Zen Compute Complex), and AMD would only get an opportunity to do so when working on "Zen 2," which AMD still expects to debut by late-2018 on its EPYC product line. We, however, don't discount the possibility of a 10-core "Zen+" silicon just yet. GlobalFoundries, AMD's principal foundry partner for CPUs, has given up on 7 nm, making the company fall back to TSMC to meet its 7 nm roadmap commitments. TSMC already has a long list of clientele for 7 nm, including high-volume contracts from Apple, Qualcomm, and NVIDIA. This could force AMD to bolster its existing lineup as a contingency for delays in 7 nm volume production.

TSMC to Build Intel 14nm Processors and Chipsets

Try to wrap your head around Intel contracting TSMC to build some of its processors! With its own 14 nanometer silicon fabrication nodes under stress from manufacturing several generations of Core and Xeon processors simultaneously, leading to market shortages, Intel is looking to contract TSMC to manufacture some of its 14 nm products. Among these are certain models of its desktop processors, and several 300-series chipsets, including the H310, which are currently fabbed on Intel's last 22 nm node, that's probably being converted to 14 nm.

The TSMC contract appears to be moving faster than expected, with the Taiwanese fab eager to demonstrate its competence to Intel and secure future orders as the company is closer than ever in going fully or partly fabless. According to industry observers, Intel is staring at a 1:2 supply-demand ratio, for the countless chip it's building on 14 nm; which may have forced it to contract some of these chip designs to TSMC. Motherboard vendors expect Intel to sort out its supply issues by the end of 2018, with big help from TSMC.
Return to Keyword Browsing