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TSMC 40nm problems ‘have been solved’ – sources

TSMC 40nm problems ‘have been solved’ – sources

Sources close to AMD and Nvidia have revealed that TSMC has 'fixed' the horrendous yield issues it has with its 40nm process technology.

COMPUTEX 2009: We have learned that TSMC has been working hard to fix the serious issues it has with its current 40nm process technology.

The problems have really hurt AMD and its partners in particular, as they are unable to satisfy demand for the ATI Radeon HD 4770 – sources close to AMD told us last week that only 40,000 chips have been shipped to partners.

Several sources close to AMD have told us that RV740 is currently yielding at around 20 percent, with one source saying that it was actually below this figure. While discussing AMD’s and Nvidia’s plans for later this year, one source told us that there will be another spin of TSMC’s process which “fixes the [yield] issues.

The source went onto tell us that TSMC expects to start shipping GPUs based on its ‘remixed’ 40nm process later this quarter, which suggests that the 4770’s current availability woes are unlikely to disappear in a matter of weeks – the pressures may not disappear until September at a worst case based on the information we’ve received.

It also puts our minds at rest regarding both AMD’s and Nvidia’s next-generation GPU launch schedules, as the two rivals are both planning to release their new products in late October to coincide with the Windows 7 launch.

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11 Comments

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docodine 3rd June 2009, 07:55 Quote
What's a normal yield %? Can the wasted chips be recycled?
iwod 3rd June 2009, 10:02 Quote
20% is very bad. Even considering it is a new node. Last time i heard Intel managed over 80% Yield. Although that is an mature node. 30 - 40% would be an acceptable level.
perplekks45 3rd June 2009, 10:59 Quote
Can I have some of the wasted chips? Given the 20% yield there should be more than enough use them instead of wallpaper. :D
Paradigm Shifter 3rd June 2009, 13:31 Quote
I want a few dead chips to make keychains with. :D
wuyanxu 3rd June 2009, 13:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
I want a few dead chips to make keychains with. :D
what i thought, i want some high-tech keychains.

possibly custome made, a GPU die inside with the other side spelling my name. :)
Adnoctum 3rd June 2009, 14:16 Quote
Soldered to a PCB etched with my details = Unique/memorable business cards.
OWNED66 3rd June 2009, 14:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
I want a few dead chips to make keychains with. :D
what i thought, i want some high-tech keychains.

possibly custome made, a GPU die inside with the other side spelling my name. :)

I heard nvidia is selling 9xxx gpu key chains on their site for 9.99 i think
nicae 3rd June 2009, 14:26 Quote
wafers are awesome to look at, but chip keychains are a tad too geeky IMHO :\

as for bad chips, AFAIK IBM recycles their dead chips by messing up the printed ICs and then sending them over to something like solar cell manufacurers or something like that.
Adnoctum 3rd June 2009, 14:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by OWNED66
I heard nvidia is selling 9xxx gpu key chains on their site for 9.99 i think
They have to do something with all those defective G84/G86 GPUs!
Skiddywinks 3rd June 2009, 14:58 Quote
Glad to know that the problems will be solved for the next range of chips. Question is, will nVidia benefit from the issues ATI has had to fix?
alwayssts 3rd June 2009, 19:18 Quote
Wouldn't 'later this quarter' mean 'by end of June'? They obviously already like the silicon, so if you figure the normal three month ramp time after the process is fixed, we'd be looking at end of September through beginning of October. Either way, it seems they have already made some chips, and even with crappy yields are moving forward with production.

The "dx11 - sooner than you think" must mean (roughly translated) "As soon as we can get the damn process to spit out satisfactory yields...and certainly before the launch of Windows 7".

Even more telling is that AMD's motto is to refresh their lineup every six months. Rv790 hit shelves beginning of April.

What this says to me is that it will be released in October, if not slightly earlier.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiddywinks
Glad to know that the problems will be solved for the next range of chips. Question is, will nVidia benefit from the issues ATI has had to fix?

Yes and no. No doubt nvidia has been going through the same things, and has to release all these 40nm dx10.1 mobile parts during the same bind AMD has had with Rv740. Surely the fixed process will help, but the question must be begged: If rv740 is a 137mm2 chip, and is getting < 20% yields, what will the fixed process yield? Twice that? Three times that?

We know G300 is literally 3x that size. I forget the rule-of-thumb yield formula, but that cannot be good.

So, to answer your question: Yes, they will reap what AMD has sewn because AMD actually produced a realistically-sized chip for the new process. Where-as before I couldn't see G300 actually being able to go to retail, the fixed process may bring it in to at least G200 territory. The punishment of course is that the chips, even now on a fixed process, will take a while to accumulate, putting them double behind AMD in time-to-market. I believe AMD created rv870 with the new process problems in mind - They knew even with crappy yields that rv870 could launch by the time windows 7 does because it was small and taped out early. A fixed process is gravy in time to market. Nvidia did not take these precautions with their dx11 part.
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