Despite of rather bad reputation of 40nm process technology from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Sun Microsystems will contract the world’s largest contract maker of chips to produce its forthcoming code-named Rainbow Falls. Industry watchers believe that by the time Sun’s new chip hits mass production, 40nm yields will be sufficient at TSMC.
Sun’s Rainbow Falls processor is a RISC chip with 16 physical cores capable of running 128 threads aimed at high-end servers by Sun Microsystems. The new UltraSPARC chip is due in 2010 and is projected to offer 30% performance improvement compared to Sun UltraSPARC T2+.
According to Taiwan Economic News, TSMC will produce the Rainbow Falls chip using 40nm fabrication process. Some unnamed industry analysts expect TSMC`s 40nm yield rate to cross 85% next year, which should satisfy not only Sun Microsystems, but also other customers of the Taiwanese foundry.
Sun Microsystems announced that it had selected TSMC as its foundry partner for processors based on 45nm geometry as well as future generations in February, 2008. Sun partner Texas Instruments (TI) would continue to test and package the 45nm processors.
Manufacturing of Sun’s Rainbow Falls central processing unit will be the first time for TSMC to produce a microprocessor.