Even though Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company claims that the yields on its most advanced 40nm node are high enough for mass production of advanced chips, actual designers and suppliers of graphics processing units still seem to have problems.
"We have had very good demand for our Radeon HD 5700-series and 5800-series. [...] We could not meet all our demand in the third quarter of this year on the Radeon HD 5800- and 5700-series. But the overall situation was getting better in Q3," said Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager of GPU division at AMD in an interview with X-bit-labs.
In the third quarter of 2010, demand for TSMC’s wafers continued to increase, and wafer shipments in all major semiconductor market segments, except computer, increased from their second quarter levels. The latter fact means that companies like Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia Corp. are shifting orders from older manufacturing processes to newer ones.
However, 40nm production capacities may be not enough for the two. Given the fact that TSMC’s revenue for 40nm chips increased its share to 17% of the company’s earnings, which means that actual revenue from 40nm process tech increased by 13.6% in Q3 2010 to $623.25 million. In the meantime, in the third quarter Nvidia released several new mainstream and performance-mainstream graphics processors built using 40nm process tech, whereas its rival ATI started to manufacture its new performance-mainstream graphics processing unit, the Radeon HD 6870.
It should be noted that while AMD does not expect to meet demand on its newest chip this quarter, it does not blame TSMC for that.
"We have just launched a new product. With the launch of every new product the demand often outstrips supply as we ramp up production. I do not see it as a 40nm capacity issue, but it is an normal issue during the ramp up process. There could be issues with availability of our new products, but those may not be capacity issues," added Mr. Skynner.