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Thread: TSMC 28nm Yield called into question? Again? Really?

  1. #1
    Admin Daniel Nenni's Avatar
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    TSMC 28nm Yield called into question? Again? Really?

    Did I read this right? Did Future Horizon’s CTO just question Dr. Morrris Chang’s integrity? And EETimes prints it? How else would you interpret this article published by last Friday (1/20/2012)?

    TSMC's 28-nm process in trouble, says analyst
    LONDON – Mike Bryant, technology analyst with Future Horizons Ltd. has said that foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. is in trouble with its 28-nm manufacturing process technologies, which are not yet yielding well. Bryant referenced un-named contacts made with multiple companies waiting for designs to be produced by TSMC on 28-nm processes. Bryant said that there are 10 designs in manufacture from seven companies. "We're now hearing none of them work; no yield anyway,"

    Ah, the old un-named contacts ploy, tabloid journalism 101. This is déjà vu 40nm ramping. The 40nm yield ramp was longer than 65nm so it must be TSMC’s fault, right? Of course the only people questioning 28nm yield are so called industry analysts and editors, not the people who actually do 28nm design and manufacturing.

    Let me tell you this from my personal experience, there is working TSMC 28nm silicon all over Silicon Valley if you care to look. 28nm FPGAs are already shipping to customers. Other working 28nm silicon includes a microprocessor, GPUs, and several wireless SoCs from industry leading providers. The word on the street in Silicon Valley, from the people who actually taped out in 28nm, tracks with what Morris Chang said in the Q4 conference call which you can read HERE.

    I will say a few words on the status of our 28-nanometer ramp. Our 28-nanometer entered volume production last year and contributed 2% of 4Q '11s wafer revenue. Defect density and new progress is ahead of schedule and is better than 40-45-nanometer at the corresponding stage of the ramp-up. We expect 28-nanometer ramp this year to be fast and we expect 28-nanometer will contribute more than 10% of total wafer revenue this year. Our tape-outs on the 28-nanometer, we have so far completed 36 individual tape-outs and have scheduled another 132 individual product tape-out in 2012. While three versions of the 28-nanometer technology, the LP, the HP and the HPL have entered volume production, the fourth version, the HPM, has entered risk production this quarter and is expected to begin volume production in the second half of this year……… Dr. Morris Chang

    Anybody else bothered by this? Is there really a place for tabloid journalism amongst semiconductor professionals? I would unsubscribe to EETimes for printing it but I already did that after the 3D IC debacle.

    D.A.N. (Blogger, not a Journalist)

    Last edited by Daniel Nenni; 01-23-2012 at 05:26 PM.
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    Ernest M I agree that 28nm yield is important. Contrarian viewpoint ~ Maybe increasing capacity has impacted yield, yet whatever the yield, this story indicates throughput is up: TSMC Ships More 28nm Wafers than Expected, Projects Rapid Ramp - X-bit labs

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    Top Influencer CharlieD's Avatar
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    EETimes got duped again, clearly TSMC 28nm is yielding. If a product is NOT yielding at this stage it is more likely a design or IP problem. Lets see how 28nm revenue ramps this year because 10% of TSMC's revenue in 2012 is a lot of wafers. Expect a retraction or clarification from Future Horizons?

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    A CTO say this? What are they yield problems? With no more information the news is useless. What is this guy selling?

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    Admin Daniel Nenni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xtoa View Post
    A CTO say this? What are they yield problems? With no more information the news is useless. What is this guy selling?
    "Future Horizons provides semiconductor market research, analysis and consulting for use in opportunity analysis, business planning and new market development. Its industry information and semiconductor training seminars and Forums are widely considered to be the best of their kind. Emphasis is placed on the world-wide microelectronics and electronics industry, and the European market environment. Contact and affiliate information."

    I do not see how making inflammatory statements helps their business. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    D.A.N.

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    Isn't it the same company that is preparing a report for EU on the feasibility of 450mm wafer manufacturing in Europe? I'm wondering, if they try to show that TSMC is not doing well, then there is a chance for such an effort in Europe.

    Even if it is not the case, the bad thing that is constantly happening is that analysts are not held accountant for what they say. And in an economy that is based so much on speculation this really translates to bad business, panic, layoffs and other negative things.

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    Daniel,
    I did read the same article and honestly I don't know who should I believe. For the guys at Future Horizon bad news is a good occasion to write something, and on the other hand Dr Chang is a TSMC guy so his statement cannot be 100% objective.
    I am wondering what is real yield and I think the only way is to wait. If you have any information that can be shared I would really appreciate. Regards.
    Posted by Pascal Lo Ré

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    Admin Daniel Nenni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LinkedIn View Post
    Daniel,
    I did read the same article and honestly I don't know who should I believe. For the guys at Future Horizon bad news is a good occasion to write something, and on the other hand Dr Chang is a TSMC guy so his statement cannot be 100% objective.
    I am wondering what is real yield and I think the only way is to wait. If you have any information that can be shared I would really appreciate. Regards.
    Posted by Pascal Lo Ré
    As an officer of a public company on a quarterly conference call, I would hope that Morris Chang is telling the truth. If not, he could risk legal action, share holder law suits, even jail if he intentionally misled Wall Street. I have found Morris to be genuine on these calls and have no reason to doubt his words, ever.

    As I posted, the information I have heard directly from the companies I work with in Silicon Valley track with what Morris said: TSMC 28nm is ramping as expected and will be in full production by year end. 28nm FPGAs are already shipping to customers, there is no question about that. Other 28nm products are on the way so Future Horizons already has egg on their face.

    We will know for sure in the coming months but my bet is on Morris being right and Future Horizons paying the price.

    D.A.N.

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    I have known Morris to be honest honest and forthright, sometimes to a near fault.

    Obviously Morris is deeply concerned about TSMC's ability to keep up with Intel and this is good example of hes honesty:- CNA ENGLISH NEWS

    Also, if 28nm is 2% of revenue it is probably .2% of wafers out. These are many designs in a new process in prototype volumes. Price would be something like 10 times the average wafer price for TSMC. That's about 740 wafer starts per month. If they are shipping 28nm parts to lots of customer, nobody is getting much more than sample quantities of anything. If the are 29 nm pars bouncing around the valley they are probably the same parts being shown over and over again.

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    Thank you for your opinion. I apologize for being suspicious, but I've learned not to believe company officials (I live in Japan, so the Olympus case is quite fresh in my mind).
    As you said we will know for sure this year. I'll wait for new information.
    Thank you again.
    Posted by Pascal Lo Ré

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