TSMC plans to roll out the 55-namometer process technology in the second quarter of 2007 in a bid to further widen the gap in the competition between it and rivals.
The silicon-foundry giant will first apply the leading-edge process technology to logic chips, including graphics chips and chipsets.
TSMC executives point out that although their company has begun supplying the 65nm process technology, its lead in the competition against United Microelectronics Corp. and Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. has narrowed to only a quarter of the original.
To get further ahead, TSMC has decided to step up research and development of 55nm and 45nm process technologies. The company`s technology roadmap already shows the volume production of the 80nm process technology, with Nvidia and ATI being major customers. They expect the 65nm process technology to enter into volume production next quarter, with Qualcomm, Freescale Semiconductor and Altera to also adopt the process.
TSMC executives point out that to retain customers they have to advance faster than the rivals in the process technology competition. And chip-equipment suppliers pointed out that behind TSMC`s rollout of the 55nm process is their determination to leave behind rivals by one more technological generation, avoiding the underselling competition in the 65nm field, a battle in which it is mired in the 90nm sector.
TSMC will begin the pilot production of low-power 55nm process in the third quarter next year.