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TSMC announces 10nm timetable



450mm wafers by 2018

TSMC has finally gotten around to announcing a roadmap for the mass-production of next-generation 10nm wafers. It seems that TSMC will have everything ready by 2018. The chipmaker delayed in making 450mm wafers, which were originally scheduled in 2015.

It said that the delay was caused by semiconductor equipment suppliers’ postponement in developing advanced equipment for manufacturing amid the industrial slump. The 450mm wafers would help solve the problem of rising costs in making advanced chips, allowing TSMC to provide affordable 10 nanometer chips with FinFET transistors for customers.

J.K. Wang, vice president of TSMC’s operation in charge of 300mm factories, told a media briefing that it was the cost constraints rather than technological constraints for chipmakers to migrate to next-generation chips via shrinking chip geometry, he said.

Chipmakers can get 2.5 times more chips from a 450mm wafer than from a 300mm wafer. TSMC planned to build a pilot production line to make 450mm wafers between 2016 and 2017, when semiconductor ASML Holding NV had its key equipment ready in 2015, Wang said. The chipmaker would consider building major 450mm-wafer production lines in Greater Taichung, he said.

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