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TSMC says 16nm to enter volume production this year

by Mark Tyson on 17 January 2014, 15:13

Tags: TSMC

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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chip maker, has held an investors conference to discuss its latest set of results. In a forward looking statement TSMC expects full year sales and profits to climb 10 per cent in 2014 and for 16nm chips to be in production towards the end of the year.

An analyst speaking to Focus Taiwan News said that TSMC is leading its peers and thus can outperform the foundry industry as a whole. By moving to the most advanced processes quicker than rivals TSMC can secure large orders to strengthen its bottom line. This month the firm started production of 20nm chips and expects them to make up 10 per cent of all sales in 2014.

16nm SoCs, CPUs and graphics chips

TSMC CEO Mark Liu was quoted saying development of a 16nm process is well under way; "Our 16FinFET yield improvement has been ahead of our plan.This is because we have been leveraging the yield, learning from 20SoC. Currently, the 16FinFET SRAM yield is already close to that of the 20SoC process." Liu added that there are over 20 16FinFET products scheduled for a 2014 tape out including SoCs, CPUs and graphics chips.

CEO Liu also said TSMC was working on an enhanced transistor version of '16FinFET plus' which will deliver performance improvements of around 15 per cent. "It will be the highest performance technology amongst all available 16 and 14nm technologies in 2014. This progress is well ahead of Samsung," he boasted.

Mobiles drive expansion

Following today's financial results TSMC shares have risen to their highest level since early November. The chip foundry said it expects full-year sales and profit to climb at least 10 percent in 2014 because of the continued demand for mobile devices. Bloomberg reports that TSMC earns "about $13 in revenue from every high-end smartphone sold globally". The mobile devices market shows no sign of slowdown as it is estimated sales of smartphones and tablets will be up 35 per cent this year.

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Good. Bring out Maxwell already!