by Anton Shilov
01/16/2014 | 10:00 PM
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract maker of chips, said on Thursday that it had initiated mass production of chips using 20nm process technology, about a month ahead of its plan. It is unknown which chips are now in production, but it is known that the new process technology will allow to make very complex SoCs with increased performance and low power consumption.
“We have two fabs, fab 12 and fab 14 that complete the core of the 20nm-SoC. As a matter of fact, we have started production. We are in the [high]-volume [20nm] production as we speak right now,” said C. C. Wei, co-chief executive officer and co-president of TSMC, during a conference call with investors and financial analysts.
TSMC’s CLN20SOC technology is designed for various highly-integrated system-on-chips (SoC) that benefit from high transistor density. Thanks to use of high-k metal gate dielectrics, chips made using the new process will be able to achieve fairly high frequencies without significant increase of leakage currents. TSMC offers only one version of process technology at 20nm node.
Earlier TSMC indicated that the first five products to be made using 20nm fabrication process were designed for mobile computing, CPU and PLD [programmable logic device] industries.
At present TSMC is producing chips using 20nm fabrication process at select modules of fabs 12 and 14. Starting from May, the company will initiate 20nm production at the fab 15 modules 3 and 4.
The world’s largest contract maker of semiconductors predicts that wafers processed using 20nm process technologies will account for around 10% of its 2014 total wafer revenue. In Q4 the 20nm manufacturing technology is expected to account for 20% of TSMC revenue.
TSMC believes that it will be extremely competitive with 20nm process technology thanks high-volume ramp at multiple fabs and engagements with tens of clients.