Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) is now mass-producing chips using cutting-edge technology that reduces battery drain in devices and cuts costs, the company said Wednesday.
Several contract chip makers have been vying for bragging rights in delivering chips made using 65-nanometer technology to customers, including TSMC, United Microelectronics (UMC) and Singapore’s Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing. The holy grail for the companies is mass production, which cuts costs dramatically, but it’s hard to do. The technology is new, and only a few companies globally have mastered it for volume production, including Intel and Texas Instruments.
The term nanometer refers to the size of the transistors and other parts that are etched onto the chips. By shrinking these components, companies are helping meet user demands for longer battery life in smaller, affordable gadgets. The advance to 65-nanometer marks an improvement over larger 90-nanometer sizes. A nanometer is one-millionth of a millimeter.
TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip maker, said it had “several” chip products in volume production at its factories, but declined to name its customers. The company has already delivered chips made using 65-nanometer technology to several customers for qualification, including Qualcomm, Broadcom, Freescale Semiconductor and Altera, which are all based in the United States.
The company’s main rival in the global contract chip industry, UMC, has been working with a few customers on 65-nanometer chips, including networking chip developer Xilinx Chartered, which ranks third by revenue in the chip foundry business, has produced samples for Infineon Technologies using 65-nanometer production technology, and will make chips for Advanced Micro Devices using the technology in the future.
-Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service
Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.