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Thread: TSMC Investor Call Discussion: What is Apple doing next?

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    TSMC Investor Call Discussion: What is Apple doing next?

    The TSM transcript is up and definitely worth reading especially since it pertains to Apple and EUV.

    Mark Lui:
    Now my second key message is about 7-nanometer that include our N7 and N7+ and its outlook. TSMC's N7 has passed technology qualification in April, right on our schedule. N7 is widely adopted by our customers. We expect to have 13 new N7 product tape-outs this year. So far, N7 yield is ahead of our plan. We expect to have a very fast and smooth N7 ramp-up in 2018, with its yield learning even better than our 16-nanometer.

    Our N7+ technology is under development based on this robust N7 technology. We inserted several EUV layers in N7+ to take the most benefit from EUV technology with minimum risk. Our N7+ technology will be again the most advanced technology in the foundry industry in 2018 in terms of density, performance and power. This N7+ will ride on N7 learning to have a very steep yield learning curve. We also have enabled the design porting from N7 to N7+ to be very easy by carefully design rule arrangement and our strong EDA utility and IT support. We expect our 7-nanometer node, N7 and N7+, to be a major and long-life technology node. It will be used in mobile, high-performance computing and automotive markets. It will cover premium, mainstream as well as low-cost products in all those markets.

    Then I will briefly talk about our advanced technology progress. I would like to update our EUV progress. Both our EUV tool development and the lithography process development have progressed very well in the past six months. We have worked closely with our tool partner, ASML, who has demonstrated 250-watt EUV source power in their labs. In TSMC, EUV lithography process development also went on very smoothly. We run several EUV layers with our N7 SRAM vehicle with the same yield level as non-EUV process.

    Lastly, our 5-nanometer. Our 5-nanometer technology development is well on track, already with SRAM functional yield. We will offer 5-nanometer in 1Q 2019.


    http://www.tsmc.com/uploadfile/ir/qu...transcript.pdf

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    Interesting to notice :

    - Oct 2011 : " TSMC has also said the 28-nm production is taping out [...], with over 80 customer product tape-outs already". 28 nm in volume production says TSMC | EE Times
    - Apr 2015 : " in 16FF+, The foundry will have more than 50 tape-outs by year’s end" TSMC Outlines 16nm, 10nm Plans | EE Times
    - Jul 2017 : " We expect to have 13 new N7 product tape-outs this year. " this article

    how many in 5nm in 2019, 5 tape-outs ? this competition between GF, Samsung and TSMC to the denser node will eventually make it non profitable for one of them, if not all due to lack of customer... who will be first to exit ?

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    Last edited by simoncc2; 07-17-2017 at 03:34 PM.
     

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    Gokul Hariharan - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Head of Taiwan Equity Research and Senior Tech Analyst
    First question on 7-nanometer. Just wanted to get the numbers right. I think last time, Dr. Liu, you mentioned 15 tape-outs. Right now, I think it's30, 3-0, in terms of 7-nanometer tape-outs that you're seeing. Could you talk about what proportion of that is HPC? Because last time you mentionedalmost half of those are HPC-related products.
    Looks like there will be 30 N7 tape outs by the end of this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by simoncc2 View Post
    Interesting to notice :

    - Oct 2011 : " TSMC has also said the 28-nm production is taping out [...], with over 80 customer product tape-outs already". 28 nm in volume production says TSMC | EE Times
    - Apr 2015 : " in 16FF+, The foundry will have more than 50 tape-outs by year’s end" TSMC Outlines 16nm, 10nm Plans | EE Times
    - Jul 2017 : " We expect to have 13 new N7 product tape-outs this year. " this article

    how many in 5nm in 2019, 5 tape-outs ? this competition between GF, Samsung and TSMC to the denser node will eventually make it non profitable for one of them, if not all due to lack of customer... who will be first to exit ?
    Your argument makes no sense. The issue is not how many different customers use a process, nor even how many different designs use a process. The only metric that matters to TSMC is how much revenue is generated by a process. Even if Apple is the ONLY customer for a particular process, as long as Apple is able to cover TSMC's costs for the process, then the process can happen. (Likewise for, say, QC+internal keeping Samsung going, or IBM+AMD keeping GF going.)

    There may be other consequences to the ever higher costs of designs, but your particular metric and concerns strike me as the wrong lens through which to view the problem.

    .................................................. .......................

    More interesting to me is how aggressive the 5nm timing is. To put it in the context of Apple the timeline one might have imagined would be something like
    - 1H17 A10X 2H17 A11 10nm
    - 1H18 A11X 2H18 A12 7nm
    - 1H19 A12X 2H19 A13 7nmEUV
    - 1H20 A13X 2H20 A14 5nm
    but TSMC seems to indicating moving 5nm around half a year to a year earlier than fits this cadence. Which makes one wonder just HOW fast Apple and TSMC will ramp up. Will we instead see something like:

    - 1H17 A10X 2H17 A11 10nm
    - 1H18 A11X 7nm 2H18 A12 7nmEUV
    - 1H19 A12X 7nmEUV 2H19 A13 5nm
    or some variant like this? For all the talk of 10nm being a short lived node, will it in fact be 7nm@DUV that is the short lived node, with Apple moving to EUV immediately and hardly bothering with 7nmDUV except perhaps for the lower volume A11X?

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    Quote Originally Posted by yulizi View Post
    Looks like there will be 30 N7 tape outs by the end of this year.
    That's a good point. TSMC said this at the 1Q earnings call:
    And we expect about 15 tape-outs in this year with volume production in 2018.
    Now it's down to 13, so 2 customers backed out?

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    Some reports Samsung plans 2019 6nm to steal from TSMC. The node marketing war continues.

    台積電7nm將批量生產 Samsung*快6nm製程! - 香港新浪

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    Last edited by Fred Chen; 07-18-2017 at 07:37 AM.
     

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    To follow up on my point about Apple cadence, we have this:
    Samsung to produce chips for Apple’s new iPhone next year
    which claims Samsung is making a play for Apple's business in 2018 with 7nm EUV.

    IF this claim is true, then it seems like 7nm really will be a very short-lived node. Is there any reason at all (technical or economic) to prefer 7nm over 7nmEUV?
    Presumably the only gating factor will be how fast ASML can supply machines?

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    Quote Originally Posted by name99 View Post
    To follow up on my point about Apple cadence, we have this:
    Samsung to produce chips for Apple’s new iPhone next year
    which claims Samsung is making a play for Apple's business in 2018 with 7nm EUV.

    IF this claim is true, then it seems like 7nm really will be a very short-lived node. Is there any reason at all (technical or economic) to prefer 7nm over 7nmEUV?
    Presumably the only gating factor will be how fast ASML can supply machines?
    If there is no EUV or any further EUV delay, 7nm will be long lived.

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    Last edited by Fred Chen; 07-18-2017 at 10:42 AM.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by simoncc2 View Post
    Interesting to notice :

    - Oct 2011 : " TSMC has also said the 28-nm production is taping out [...], with over 80 customer product tape-outs already". 28 nm in volume production says TSMC | EE Times
    - Apr 2015 : " in 16FF+, The foundry will have more than 50 tape-outs by year’s end" TSMC Outlines 16nm, 10nm Plans | EE Times
    - Jul 2017 : " We expect to have 13 new N7 product tape-outs this year. " this article

    how many in 5nm in 2019, 5 tape-outs ? this competition between GF, Samsung and TSMC to the denser node will eventually make it non profitable for one of them, if not all due to lack of customer... who will be first to exit ?
    My guess is neither of those three.

    At some point, not in the next 2 years, maybe not in the next 5, but probably within the next 10 years market forces will drive Intel to either go fabless or fail. They are already losing their process lead and if you compare their cadence to the foundries, they are going to be 2 nodes behind 10 years from now. They simply won't have the volumes to fill their own fabs and invest in leading edge processes. Their chip volumes will be probably be split between 2 of those three names, and that will prop up volumes at the leading edge. On the trailing edge, there are lots of smaller companies that won't be able to compete and their volumes will be captured by the big three, extending the life of older processes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by name99 View Post
    To follow up on my point about Apple cadence, we have this:
    Samsung to produce chips for Apple’s new iPhone next year
    which claims Samsung is making a play for Apple's business in 2018 with 7nm EUV.

    IF this claim is true, then it seems like 7nm really will be a very short-lived node. Is there any reason at all (technical or economic) to prefer 7nm over 7nmEUV?
    Presumably the only gating factor will be how fast ASML can supply machines?
    I wouldn't worry. Any rumour from the Korean press concerning Samsung and TSMC is nearly always made up.

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