NVIDIA Corporation today unveiled its plans to use TSMC’s 110nm process technology. The move will allow the Santa Clara, California-based firm to make complex high-speed graphics processors with low power consumption in about 12 month time.
TSMC’s 0.11 micron process technology is fundamentally a photolithographic shrink of its 0.13 micron process. The process will be available in both high-performance and general-purpose versions using FSG-based dielectrics. Though actual results are design-dependent, TSMC’s 0.11 micron high-performance process also includes transistor enhancements that improve speed and reduce power consumption relative to its 0.13 micron FSG-based technology.
TSMC began 0.11 micron technology development in 2002 and product qualified the process in December of 2003. Design rules, design guidelines, SPICE and SRAM models have been developed, and third-party compilers are expected to be available in March. Yields have already reached production-worthy levels and the low-voltage version has already ramped into volume production. The 0.11 micron general-purpose technology is expected to enter risk production in the Q1 2005.
Both leading graphics chips developers – NVIDIA and ATI Technologies – were said to adopt the 110nm process at TSMC at the earliest possible opportunity. With current complex 130nm becoming increasingly power hungry and hot, adoption of thinner process technologies is crucial, as it may basically limit the companies’ ability to deliver powerful graphics processors with generally acceptable thermal characteristics and cooling solutions. However, with risk production starting in Q1 2005, GPUs and VPUs produced at 110nm process technology are not likely to hit the market before mid-2005.
There is no information which graphics processors are to be produced using 110nm fabrication process. In the year 2005 both leading graphics companies – ATI Technologies and NVIDIA – were expected to deliver their products code-named R500 and NV50 with plethora of new functions and revolutionary performance.