@MarkLaPedus: it was good to see you at DesignCon last week. I remain skeptical of TSMC's plan to have a pilot line for 450mm by 2013. Other market factors including the stabilization of flash memory prizes and their future fluctuations also have an impact on the urgency to drive the 450mm adoption.
Missing in the article are references to technology nodes that are going to be piloted in TSMC/other vendor fabs and their strategy thereof.
Lack of automation standards is a significant impediment but given the number of players wanting to participate in 450mm is so small, I hope it is easily resolved.
I think its a deliberate move from those few companies (read TSMC) to kill off its competition. The big companies that can afford it will do it to grab all the business cornering the market, much like OPEC controls oil prices.
Judging by where 450mm is today, and how long it took 300mm to get into production (ignoring Motorola) from a similar point, we're looking at what, 7 years? That doesn't change any capacity issues for a long long time.
Folks seem to forget that Dan Maydan, then in the Office of the President at AMAT,suggested in the mid 90's that the industry should go directly to 450mm from the incumbent 200mm. What followed of course was the initial 300mm "false-start"
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