LONDON – The Semiconductor Industry Association has released wafer manufacturing capacity statistics for the first quarter of 2011 that show that utilization in most areas has remained above 90 percent and that for the total semiconductor industry it averaged 93.7 percent.
In effect the semiconductor industry continued to be close to sold out during the first quarter.
However, the report has been released much later than usual. Q1's report normally appears in mid to late May. No reason was given for the delay although it is noticeable that many of the spreadsheet figures for the previous quarter have been changed. This suggests that statisticians had problems squaring Q1 against Q4 and had to do some back checking and correction.
Most of the changed cells for 4Q10 are in the MOS category for design rules between 200-nm and 120-nm (roughly covering 0.18-micron, 0.15-micron and 0.13-micron manufacturing processes) and also in foundry figures.
Worldwide wafer fab capacity utilization hit 93.7 percent in 1Q11, up from 92.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the SICAS organization, which collects production statistics from around the world for the benefit of the industry. However, production is split between older processes and 200-mm wafer production and new processes and 300-mm production
Capacity is pretty much level for processes of 130-nm and above with utilization at between 80 and 90 percent. At the leadng edge for the 65-nm process node production capacity is falling but utilization was 95.8 percent slightly down from 97 percent in the previous quarter.
At less than 60-nm design rules capacity is up by 38.9 percent to 987,5 kwafer starts per week compared with the same quarter a year before. Actually wafer starts have increased by 41 percent resulting a climbing utilization of 98.9 percent in 1Q11.
Manufacturing capacity utilization on 200-mm wafers was 89.6 percent in 1Q11 whereas utilization on 300-mm wafers was at 97.0 percent.
Foundries, which represented 19.6 percent of total semiconductor manufacturing capacity in 1Q11, showed steadily increasing capacity to 441.9 k-wafers starts per week, up 15 percent on the 1Q10. Capacity utilization was 97.0 percent in 1Q11, according to the SICAS figures.
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.