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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest contract semiconductor maker, confirmed this week that it would see revenues from manufacturing of central processing units (CPUs) in 2008. Regrettably, TSMC did not disclose the name of those chips developer.

“TSMC will start out its CPU production on a 45nm high-end process with low-cost PCs being the initial targeted market,” said Rick Tsai, chief executive of TSMC, at a conference with investors, reports DigiTimes web-site.

The head of TSMC noted that the contract maker of semiconductors was in the “investment stage” of the CPU manufacturing and the first revenues will be realized only in the second half of 2008.

It was especially emphasized that manufacturing of microprocessors requires technologies that are “more demanding than what TSMC has been used to dealing with”, which indicates that TSMC is talking about leading-edge chips, not relatively simplistic special-purpose products made using bulk process technology. The chief executive indicated that his company has to allocate more resources in high-k, metal gate-related technologies in order to ensure high performance and low-leakage in CPUs.

Earlier this year it was reported several times that TSMC was on its way to manufacture central processing units for Advanced Micro Devices, but while the latter did not confirm it, it also did not deny it too. Nevertheless, there are many other companies interested in CPU manufacturing, including Microsoft Corp., Sony and other players in the consumer electronics field.

TSMC also did not disclose terms of the CPU contract manufacturing agreement with the undisclosed customer.

Discussion

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Discussion started: 07/28/07 05:48:18 AM
Latest comment: 07/30/07 11:11:33 PM
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Let's see... the fact that AMD is promising previously unannounced .45 CPU's based on the current x2 chips with a 1Mb L3 cache for the second half of 2008 is just a co-incidence?

Clearly AMD's proposed 'CARTWHEEL' chips (see recent AMD roadmap) are to be built by TSMC. This situation has been a long time in the making, for AMD has spent many years trying to arrange the finacially viable manufacture of some of its chips in Taiwan.

However, by doing this, AMD will drive the ASP of good dual cores so low that all other families of Intel/AMD CPU's will be affected. Even the current x2 core from AMD, running at 3Ghz, will be good enough for 99% of most customers. Quad cores are not so great, when they offer little for the ordinary user, and cost vastly more.

Intel compatible CPU's with enough performance for the vast majority of applications are about to become as cheap as providing any other commodity PC function, like 2D graphics, sound, or fast ethernet connection. What happens to Intel and AMD when most people can use a CPU costing less than 20 dollars?

Today the performance of a modern PC is far more impacted by hard-drive speed, GPU speed, and the (crappy) MS OS. Therefore, in the very near future, CPU's are going to cease to be 'cash cows'. Even if a real use is found eventually for quad-core by most users, it will be at a time when the transistor cost is so low given the then current manufacturing process, that even a 4-core chip at 3Ghz+ will cost
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 07/28/07 11:35:12 AM]
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It is good to have high-performance CPU be very cheap because it makes it easier to design and create products to do our house chores.

Probably AMD may use TSMC to get some help to produce low cost CPU.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 07/30/07 07:19:38 PM]
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