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Mass Production of 450mm Wafers Bumped Back Again: 2018 67

Taco Cowboy writes with news on the slipping schedules in the move toward both larger wafers and 3D integrated circuits in the semiconductor fab world. From the articles: "TSMC ... said it planned to start mass-producing next-generation 450mm wafers using advanced 10-nanometer technology in 2018. The advanced 10-nanometer chips could first be used in mobile devices and other consumer electronics, like game consoles, that demand high-performance and low power consumption. The plan was included in the latest technology roadmap unveiled by TSMC about one year after the chipmaker attributed its delay in making 450mm wafers, originally scheduled in 2015, to semiconductor equipment suppliers' postponement in developing advanced equipment for manufacturing amid the industrial slump. Chipmakers can get 2.5 times more chips from a 450mm wafer than from a 300mm wafer ... The industry's gradual migration toward 3D ICs with through-silicon vias (TSV) is unlikely to happen until 2015 or 2016, according to sources at semiconductor companies. Volume production of 3D ICs was previously estimated to take place in 2014. Leading foundries and backend assembly and test service companies have all devoted much of their R&D efforts to TSV development, and are making progress. The major players are believed to be capable of supporting 3D ICs by 2014, but the emerging technology going into commercial production may not take place until around the 2015-16 timeframe." Probably one of the most interesting presentations at HOPE9, "Indistinguishable From Magic: Manufacturing Modern Computer Chips," covered modern semiconductor fabrication and why these things are cool. If you're interested in more background (what do all of those TLAs mean?), check out the slides / audio (or attached video of the presentation from YouTube).

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Mass Production of 450mm Wafers Bumped Back Again: 2018

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @11:10AM (#41234987)

    Called D1X (development, but also production like previous "X" fabs) in Oregon, with a second to follow. 450mm wafer production will likely hit volume levels by 2014, just not at the foundries listed in the story.

    Price conscious, volume manufacturers like semi foundries would be more willing to push back adoption dates if the investment isn't likely to pay for itself. Most of their business is usually on n-1 or n-2 process nodes. This changeover just happens to be particularly expensive and may not yet make economic sense for another 2-3 years.

  • by YoopDaDum ( 1998474 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @12:02PM (#41235637)
    You should take this Intel announcement with a big handful of salt. Intel doesn't make the waver producing machinery, they get it from companies like ASML.

    Now, there's been a big struggle between companies like Intel that wanted 450mm earlier, and the tool makers who sank a lot of money on the move to 300mm before and don't want to be burned again in the move to 450mm. The Intel announcement above was to put pressure on the tools providers. It didn't worked out in the end.

    All this got sorted out between big boys recently, with Intel, TSMC and Samsung investing a lot of money in ASML to speed-up the availability of 450mm. But the accelerated roadmap has nothing to do with the announcement you quote, just look at it from ASML direct [] (slide 14). The 450mm process development tools are worked on starting mid-2015 and production equipment is available beginning of 2018. Exactly what is said in the TFA.

    450mm is important as it is the only known step that will bring the cost of chips down. Other planned changes (finer processes, 3D chips...) increase performance but also cost. But 450mm requires huge upfront investments, so you need large volumes to recoup it and it will require a big upfront spending. Which is why a lot of people are pushing back. Intel has both high volumes, high margins and deep pockets so they're the most eager to get started. But as you can see, even with their backing it's not that simple and fast.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker