LONDON – There will be three foundry sources of leading-edge semiconductor technology by the end of 2011: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC), GlobalFoundries Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., with possible addition of Intel, according to new research from IHS iSuppli.
Those three could be joined by an Intel entry into foundry supply. Intel Corp. may decide offer foundry services to design companies and fabless semiconductor suppliers that are incorporating the Atom microprocessor into their designs. It could lead to significant revenue growth for Intel as well as more favorable asset utilization. The strategy of providing the Atom design to TSMC and its clients did not meet the expectations of either TSMC or Intel in 2010.
Several other foundries, including United Microelectronics Corp. and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., will be capable of providing near-leading-edge foundry manufacturing in high volume. At the end of 2011 theere will be no Japanese suppliers manufacturing at the 32-nanometer and smaller geometries.
Conceivably, Japanese equipment suppliers could leapfrog their competitors with the appropriate funding. If this were to happen, 2011 has to be the year that Japanese companies come out of their shells and become active in the foundry business. The Japanese semiconductor industry could suffer greatly if it chooses to remain in the sidelines, said iSuppli.
I'm wondering whether this IBM-GloFo-Samsung alliance will put an end to the semi manufacturing at IBM. Now that both GloFo and Samsung are building fabs in the States, IBM can built their chips for the US government there. However I believe that products like Power7 (just like Intel) will require that the chip designer works really closely with a fab. If the alliance works as tightly I dont know.
It is amazing how rapidly the list shrinks at smaller nodes. Not a healthy trend for the industry, time for a fab co-op? What is also worth noting is that half of the fabs at 22/20nm are outside the western hemisphere. What does this bode for geopolitical perturbations?
I am also surprised that IBM which does a lot of R&D work in advanced tech nodes is not in the picture below 40nm.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.