Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. revealed additional information regarding the progress of its 20nm planar and 16nm FinFET process technologies. The company appears to have tens of product tape-outs for both next-gen technologies and generally considers them as one node. The world’s largest contract maker of semiconductors expects no disruptions with either.
“We will begin volume production of 20nms in the first quarter 2014. That's 90 days from now. 16nm will follow 20nm in one year. We view both 20nm and 16nm as virtually one node,” said Morris Chang, chief executive officer and chairman of TSMC, during a conference call with financial analysts.
Next year TSMC will make over thirty designs using 20nm process technology, which it calls CLN20SOC with HKMG. Moreover, since there will be multiple fabs producing chips using 20nm fabrication process at TSMC, the ramp curve of every design as well as revenue share of 20nm technology will be faster compared to those of 28nm process.
“Specifically on 20nm we have received five product tape-outs and scheduled more than 30 tape-outs in this year and next year from mobile computing, CPU and PLD [programmable logic device] segments. And all those tape-outs represent big volumes. Design ecosystem on 20nm has been validated in real products and is ready to support customers. Yield learning is in line or better than the 28nm path. We expect a fast ramp of 20nm next year, with revenue from 20nm in 2014 bigger than that of 28nm in 2012. You see 20nm will be starting next year whereas 28nm actually started in the fourth quarter – third, fourth quarter of 2011. So the corresponding point for 28nm was 2012. But our ramp in 20nm in 2014 is going to be faster than the ramp for 28nm in 2012. While our 28nm ramp was a record for TSMC, 20nm ramp will be even faster by about 30%,” said Mr. Chang.
Over 25 products will be manufactured using 16nm FinFET process technology, which it calls CLN16FF, in 2015. Volume production is expected to commence sometimes in Q1 2015.
“On 16 FinFET, technological development is progressing well. Risk production is on schedule by the end of this year. More than 25 customer product tape-outs are planned in 2014 including mobile computing, CPU, GPU, PLD and networking applications. We are on track to begin volume production within one year of 20nm,” explained the head of TSMC.
On both 20nm and 16nm FinFET TSMC is confident that it will be competitive, mainly because there will be no foundries to offer volume production using both processes.