Agreed. I don't see the cost justification at anything other than the leading nodes. You can't get the leverage you need. I wonder if instead of investing in larger wafers if more fabs will instead start investing in 3D-IC technology to get density scaling using the 3rd dimension. It would probably be lower cost.
@KB3001: I agree with your arument on More-than-Moore as the lead to 450mm. The industry is still grappling with handling of ultra-thin wafers in the assembly flow of W-to-W stacking. This problem gets exponentially amplified with 450mm wafers.
What I would like to see is a study by the proponents of 450mm on whether or not the 'have's can survive the transition to 450mm when many 'have-not's choose to stay with 300mm for multiple reasons, economics being the major one!
This seems to be a case of where the "research" fits the hypothesis given to it by it's sponsors. I don't see the financial merit in the concept and at best an attempt at hand waving to get the conclusion to remotely fit. I went thru this type of thinking at a once proud and formidable semiconductor manufacturer and it ended in their ruin. There are three strategic ingredients to a wafer size change:
1) Capital leverage
2) Manufacturing scaling leverage
3) Performance leverage
It's utter lunacy to say any of those three are invalid and a "new" economic model has dawned.
Would those who make just low margin products like analog or RF ID chips be able to afford a new Fab for 450 mm ?
Even if they had the resources would it not be a better use of their money to upgrade Fabs for high margin products like processors ?
The "analyst" quoted here needs to make a reality check.
Agreed. It seems ludicrous to think that you could build a multi-billion dollar to make analog parts, and compete with depreciated and well characterized 200mm fabs. TI's RFAB was built almost entirely with 2nd hand equipment, so it not a good bit of evidence for 450mm more than Moore. Maxim is not running their own 300mm fab, either - so they're agnostic at best.
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