TSMC reports the ramp up of its 28nm process will be fast, the company anticipates the new process will contribute to 10 percent of its wafer revenue in the second half of 2012, up from 2 percent in Q4 2011.
"Our 28nm entered volume production last year and contributed 2% of Q4 2011's wafer revenue. Defect density and progress is ahead of schedule and is better than 40/45nm at the corresponding stage of the ramp-up. We expect 28nm amp this year to be fast and we expect 28nm will contribute more than 10% of total wafer revenue this year," said Morris Chang, chief executive officer and chairman of TSMC.
TSMC has so far completed 36 individual tape-outs and have scheduled another 132 individual product tape-outs in this year. At present the company produces chips using 28LP (SiON), 28HP (HKMG) and 28HPL (HKMG) versions of the process. The 28HPM flavour entered risk production this quarter and the manufacturer expects to start volume manufacturing of chips using 28HPM in the second half of 2012. At present the majority of 28nm chips made by TSMC are produced using 28nm LP process technology that relies on silicon oxynitride, but by the end of the year TSMC expects 50% of its 28nm chips to rely on more advanced high-K metal gate (HKMG) technology. In Q1 2012 TSMC expects wafers processed using 28nm process technologies to account for 5% of revenue.
Future Horizons analyst Mike Bryant on the other hand paints a bleak picture over at EE Times, he heard from contacts at multiple companies that TSMC's 28nm process suffers from poor yields:
Bryant said that there are 10 designs in manufacture from seven companies. "We're now hearing none of them work; no yield anyway," he told an audience at a one-day market forecast conference organized by Future Horizons, here on Thursday (Jan. 19). "Ten designs going through; we have heard about problems on six of them," Bryant added. Bryant's comments echo those made by Bob Johnson, research vice president at market research firm Gartner in November 2011.
However, Bryant's description of the situation at TSMC is quite different to that of the company's CEO and chairman Morris Chang. Speaking to analysts about TSMC's fourth quarter financial results on the previous day, Chang said: "Our 28-nm entered volume production last year and contributed 2 percent of 4Q11's wafer revenue. Defect density and new progress is ahead of schedule and is better than 40-45-nm at the corresponding stage of the ramp-up. We expect 28-nm ramp this year to be fast and we expect 28-nm will contribute more than 10 percent of total wafer revenue this year."