TG Daily has a piece on chip manufacturing tech and states for the first time ever GPUs will overtake CPUs in terms of production nodes as ATI and NVIDIA will be able to use TSMC's 40nm half-node process in the first half of 2009 while Intel will need to wait a bit longer until they can shrink from 45nm to 32nm.
Theo Valich uses this as an example of how important GPUs have become, these chips used to trail CPU manufacturing processes from Intel and AMD by two or three generations but now they're about to leap ahead.
This was bound to happen sooner or later. After speaking with several of our sources at ATI (AMD GPG) and Nvidia, we were told that a 40 nm GPU manufacturing process is on the way for first half of 2009. In fact, both companies are working on parts that should capture the spotlights at CeBit 2009 in Hannover. Both low-end and mainstream products are ready to be manufactured in 40 nm soon and should be on display at the tradeshow.
It appears that TSMC’s previously announced $10 billion investment in manufacturing technology is yielding results already, since the company is now able to develop 45 nm and 40 nm processes at the same time. The next step for TSMC is either 32 nm or 30 nm - or below. Samsung is investing heavily in 30 nm, but that is for DRAM only.
Intel has 32 nm CPUs still in development at its research, development and production facilities in Hillsboro, Oregon. 45 nm Nehalem CPUs will be the focus at the upcoming fall IDF, but it is generally expected that prototype 32 nm processors will be first shown at the company’s spring developer forum in H1 2009. Production of the chips should begin early in H2 2009, with volume shipments beginning in late Q3 or early Q4. First chips should surface in commercial products in late 2009, while 32 nm will be a 2010 topic for the mainstream buyer.
The site also noticed that TSMC is planning to roll out a 32nm process for GPUs in 2009, this will likely arrive in a similar timeframe with Intel, and that TSMC has a 40nm process for handheld chips - this will enable NVIDIA to shrink its Tegra chips to 40nm.