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TSMC To Spend $10B Building Factory for 450mm Wafers 104

An anonymous reader writes "With demand for processors growing and costs rising, using larger wafers for manufacturing is highly desirable, but a very expensive transition to make. TSMC just announced it has received approval from the Taiwan government to build a new factory for 450mm wafers, with the total cost of the project expected to be between $8-10 billion. The move to larger wafers isn't without its risks, though. Building new facilities to handle production is the easy part. The industry as a whole has to overcome some major technical hurdles before 450mm becomes a viable replacement for the tried and tested 300mm process. TSMC's chairman Morris Chang has stated the next five years will be filled with technical challenges, suggesting 450mm wafers may not be viable until at least 2017."
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TSMC To Spend $10B Building Factory for 450mm Wafers

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  • How about (Score:4, Informative)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @04:36PM (#40300523)
    How about they focus on fixing their 28nm production problems before they set their eyes on lowering cost through bigger wafers. It's not like many of their most lucrative clients aren't hobbled at the moment by lack of supply for their top bin parts. Oh, yes they are.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @05:05PM (#40300851) Homepage

    I'm sorry, but you're the one making a fool of yourself. The process is 28 nanometers, the wafers are now 300 millimeters wide and will be 450.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @05:07PM (#40300885)

    TSMC Chairman Morris Chang told reporters he expected other rivals such as Samsung were also working on developing a 450mm, or 18 inch, wafer.

    "18-inch is something we have to do, but the technology is not ready yet ... if we can overcome it, it'll be a big breakthrough," he said after the company's annual general meeting.

    I know Europers are bad at reading comprehension, but this isn't the precision of the wafer, it's the size. They're planning to make a lot more chips each run.

  • Fab wise? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:45PM (#40302233)

    It is big, but then so is the US and more cutting edge research is going on here. Intel is already on the 22nm node, and I don't mean playing with, I mean shipping chips in mass quantities to retailers and OEMs (Ivy Bridge). TSMC is on the 28nm half node currently, with plans to go to the 20nm half node about the time Intel goes to the 14nm half node.

    In terms of 450mm wafers, well Intel is going there too or at least that is the plan. Fab 42 is under construction in Chandler Arizona right now and will be 14nm process, 450mm wafer. It is slated to start commercial production in 2013, and Intel has been pretty damn good about hitting its dates on fabs.

    No doubt Taiwan is big for semiconductor fabrication, as TSMC is one of the biggest fab-for-hire outfits out there. However if you think all the R&D is going on there, all it means is you've not paid attention to Intel. They are ahead of all other processes currently (and usually are) and they upgrade at a fantastic rate. They do real ground breaking research too, and have to as they are usually leading the pack. One cool thing they have in their latest process is multi-gate transistors, which is a first for CPUs as far as I know.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.