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TSMC accelerating 7nm process production plan to meet demand
Source: DIGITIMES   Editor: Helan   Update Time :2018/6/11 16:00:12

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is likely to move its 7nm process technology to mass production ahead of schedule to meet growing demand from its fabless clients including MediaTek, HiSilicon and Qualcomm, according to industry sources.

TSMC has received growing customer demand in favor of 7nm node manufacturing for their chip products, said the sources, adding that more of its major fabless clients intend to skip 10nm process and go directly to 7nm one.

HiSilicon, MediaTek, Xilinx and Nvidia have all disclosed their adoption of TSMC's 7nm process in their next-generation chip products. Meanwhile, IC design service providers Global Unichip and Alchip have started providing solutions to help their clients speed up 7nm chip development.

TSMC moved its 7nm process dubbed N7 to volume production in the second quarter of 2018. The foundry expects sales generated from the node to account for over 20% in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 10% in all of the year. In addition to mobile devices, server CPU, network processors, gaming, GPU, FPGA, cryptocurrency, automotive and AI are the target applications of the N7.

An improved version of TSMC's N7 technology, dubbed N7 Plus, will adopt EUV lithography technology and become available in 2019, according to the foundry.

As for TSMC's 10nm process technology, sales generated from the node grew to account for 19% of the foundry's total wafer sales in the first quarter of 2018. The proportion will slide to less than 10% in the fourth quarter of the year, company CFO Lora Ho said at TSMC's most-recent investors meeting.

Despite being a short-lived node, TSMC's 10nm process has reportedly drawn orders from Apple, FPGA chipmakers and AI developers. The foundry has also introduced its 12nm process technology for mobile SoC specialists eager to keep their cost structure competitive amid the ever-intensifying competition among smartphone SoC suppliers, the sources indicated.

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