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TSMC 7nm Thread
Quote:Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company ("TSMC") has quickly become a household name in the chip fabrication business, and the foundry of choice for many fabless chip makers. In recent times, TSMC has eclipsed Intel when it comes to advancing research and investing into smaller, more efficient process nodes, and at the volumes necessary to support global demand. While Chipzilla is still struggling with its 10nm process, TSMC has already hit volume production for parts using its 7nm process and is expecting over 50 tape-outs this year alone.
At the conference, TSMC also announced a new 7nm+ node using extreme ultraviolet (“EUV”) lithography, which should ramp up during H1-2019, and that it’s on track to start ‘risk-production’ of a 5nm node, also during H1-2019 for mobile and high-performance computing chips. Back in January, TSMC started building a brand new 5nm fab in Taiwan, which is expected to start volume production in 2020. There's a lot to look forward to in H2-2018, particularly the next-gen 7nm mobile SoCs, CPUs and GPUs, and what they have in store in terms of performance and power efficiency.
Also mentioned:
Quote:At its 24th annual Technology Symposium in Santa Clara, TSMC announced its Wafer-on-Wafer (“WoW”) technology, which could be a boon for GPU performance, similar to how vertical stacking has improved DRAM manufacturing and performance. The technology, as the name suggests, stacks layers of logic on top of one another using a through-silicon via (“TSV”) interconnect. With limited lateral space on wafers, WoW technology should allow for faster chips with higher areal density to be crammed in the same amount of space using high-speed, low-latency interconnects.

Process maturity plays an important role in determining yields, which are currently low for the WoW tech – so expect an initial roll-out on parts built on more mature 16nm or 10nm processes, before transitioning to smaller process nodes. However, as the technology matures and yields improve, GPU manufacturers could literally stack two fully-functional GPUs on top of one another, as opposed to dual-GPU setups using two independent dies, leading to cost savings, and smaller, more power-efficient video cards.
Samsung is preparing its own 7nm process:
Quote:We’ve discussed AMD’s 7nm plans several times this year, including the company’s decision to source its 7nm silicon for Vega’s machine learning iteration from TSMC. As Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV) ramps up and begins to enter production, a number of foundries including TSMC, Samsung, GlobalFoundries, and Intel are pursuing their own strategies and introduction plans. One interesting tidbit in a recent report sheds a bit more light on AMD’s 7nm plans and suggests we’ll see the company pursuing dual-source strategy well into next year.

In an article at EETimes, GlobalFoundries admits using similar pitches and SRAM cells to TSMC’s 7nm, precisely because it gives AMD more flexibility. The company’s chief technologist, Gary Patton, told EET’s Rick Merritt that AMD “will have more demand than we have capacity, so I have no issues with that.” The same article also confirmed that AMD will provide its first 7nm chip with tapeout expected later this year. IBM hardware and other ASICs will follow in 2019.
Quote:Digitimes reports that TSMC CEO CC Wei told onlookers that commercial production of chips built using the company's 7-nm fabrication process has begun at a recent technology symposium. The leader of the Taiwanese foundry says an improved 7-nm node with EUV will come before the end of 2018, and it anticipates a move to a 5-nm fabrication node at the end of 2019 or in early 2020. The CEO said TSMC's newest plant, Fab 18 in Taiwan Science Park, will also be the tip of the spear for 3-nm production at some undetermined point in the future, according to Digitimes.

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