Nvidia Corp. has chosen Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as the primary manufacturer of its next-generation products, which will be produced using 20nm process technology. Potentially, this means that TSMC will produce code-named Maxwell family of graphics processors on 20nm node sometimes in 2014.
Nvidia has evaluated different foundries, but decided that TSMC remained the best option for the company when it comes to 20nm process technology, said Phil Eisler, the general manager of GeForce Grid cloud gaming at Nvidia, in an interview conducted by Hankook Ilbo, a South Korean daily newspaper, reports China Economic News Service. With the approval of TSMC’s 20nm fabrication technology, Nvidia will likely use it for its most crucial projects, namely code-named Maxwell graphics processing units (GPUs).
Nvidia is one of the world’s largest fabless semiconductor companies with nearly $4 billion in annual sales. With the growing demand towards chips made using leading-edge manufacturing processes, Nvidia has evaluated other foundries, including Globalfoundries and Samsung Semiconductor. However, even considering TSMC’s slower-than-expected ramp-up of 28nm production, the company continues to have the largest cutting-edge 300mm capacity in the world.
Nvidia Maxwell will be a very important GPU family for the company. Maxwell will be Nvidia's first graphics processing units to contain project Denver 64-bit ARM-compatible general-purpose core, which means that Maxwell will be able to boot operating systems themselves. Maxwell will be the first top-to-bottom GPU architecture, powering everything from Tegra to Tesla.
Nvidia and TSMC did not make specific comments regarding Maxwell and TSMC’s 20nm fabrication process.