According to recent rumors it seems that TSMC and Samsung will be able to push out 14nm full node and 16nm half node FinFET products earlier than anticipated. This is certainly going to be good news for many customers of the two foundry companies including Apple and nVidia.
Not all that long ago we reported that there was a chance that nVidia might skip over the 20nm half-node and move to the next full node in line due to issues that TSMC has been having with their 20nm process. 20nm has been the dream of GPU manufacturers for some time and despite the money that has been thrown at it, neither TSMC nor GlobalFoundries can seem to get it right. One reason for this could be due to leakage while another is just that as the process gets smaller building large and complex devices using a half-node just does not work.
In the world of silicon size matters, but not in the traditional way. Manufacturers are always looking to make things smaller so they can stuff more into the same space. However there are two types of die shrinks. In the CPU world you see what it commonly referred to as full die shrinks while GPUs tend to do things in half-node steps.
Apple's new A8 processor will be manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, according to sources in Taiwanese TechNews. Samsung would so be left out of orders for the production of processors for Apple.
Taiwan's TSMC has begun mass production of 20-nanometer chips before the previously scheduled time. According to the company's vice president C. C. Wei, TSMC began the production of large quantities of chips in the above production process a month earlier than it was originally planned.
Morris Chang, founder and director of TSMC published some of the company's plans for the near and distant future. The company has moved the start of production of 16 nanometer chips in SONFET technology to the end of this year, which is slightly earlier than planned.
In order to satisfy the appetites of its numerous U.S. semiconductor clients, Taiwanese TSMC appears to be preparing to build a huge factory in the U.S. Earlier this month, word spread that an unnamed company hired Deloitte for business and financial advice to explore locations for the construction of huge buildings in the districts of Rensselaer, Saratoga and Utica, New York. The server location must have access to water, power and gas resources which can serve the building of 3.2 million square feet (300,000 square meters) which will employ around 1,000 workers (40% with an engineering degree). The building would be up to 55 meters high, and would cost several billion dollars.
There appears to be something in the air this month or perhaps it as always been there and people are just waking up to the smell. It is the smell of a company getting stomped by Karma over in the corner. The company in question is Apple. For a few years now Apple has been on a campaign against their rival in the mobile OS space; Android. We were not surprised to see them go this route as they did the same thing with Microsoft a long time ago and got their hats handed to them by Microsoft (a one-time partner). Oddly enough when Apple was financially on the brink of ruin it was Microsoft that bailed them out, but I am getting off the subject here. When Apple’s Steve Jobs declared war on Android we had more than a few flashbacks to the days of law suits flying back and forth between Microsoft and Apple. However, Apple did not go after Google head to head; perhaps they thought they had learned something from the past, then again maybe they did not. After all they went after almost every Android phone maker even ones that they buy parts for their own products from!
FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) is annoying to read regardless of what side is doing it. Today’s bit of FUD is about Apple decreasing the amount of memory they are using from Samsung for the next iPhone. To start off with the decrease is nothing new nor is it unexpected. Apple used Elpida as the primary source for memory in the third generation iPad last year. They liked the product and the price so we would not expect them to drop that particular connection. Another supplier of memory to Apple is Micron Technologies. By an amazing coincidence Micron is also planning to buy Elpida some, like Citibank even feel that Apple might have encouraged Micron to make the purchase last year.
It seems that Apple and Qualcomm wanted to try and lock out competition when it comes to the use of TSMC (The Taiwanese Semi-Conductor Manufacturing Corporation). The pair attempted to buy themselves a nice exclusive deal with TSMC with a large bundle of cash (over $1 billion). However, TSMC decided that there was more money to be had in keeping things open. The original deal from Qualcomm and Apple was to make sure the pair had access to production facilities. TSMC replied by saying that they could always expand if there was a need, but that they would internally fund it.