TSMC outlines 16nm, 10nm plans

April 08, 2015 //By Jessica Lipsky
TSMC outlines 16nm, 10nm plans
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) announced plans to roll out a compact, low-power version of its 16nm FinFET process and revealed its road map for smaller process nodes.

The company will begin volume production of its 16nm FinFET Plus (16FF+) in the middle of this year and break ground on a new 10nm fab next year.

A year after volume production of 20nm chips, TSMC announced it will begin volume production of its 16FF+ in the middle of 2015. TSMC claims the chips made using FinFET Plus have 10% better performance than competing silicon, consume 50% less power than a 20nm SoC, and have a cycle time twice that of 20nm chips.

The foundry will have more than 50 tape-outs by year’s end, covering applications processors, GPUs, automotive, and network processors, said TSMC President and Co-CEO Mark Liu said at the TSMC 2015 Technology Symposium Tuesday.

“We are in a critical juncture — today we not only have to drive the growth of our respective companies, but drive the search for new companies that didn’t exist before,” said Liu. “Our consumer product cycle hasn’t changed much. What has changed is the cadence of product design and tech development. More and more work must be accomplished in the same time frame.”

Liu added that TSMC has collaborated with ARM on a Cortex-A72 that leverages the 16FF+ to achieve 3.5x better performance than a Cortex A-15 while consuming 75% less power. TSMC and ARM will continue to collaborate on next generation process nodes, he added.

The company also developed a compact version of its 16nm FinFET process, called 16FFC, for mid-to-low-end smartphones, consumer products, and wearables. The process reduces power consumption more than 50% to 0.55 volts and product tapeouts are expected in the second half of 2016.

“In terms of the 16FF and 16FF+, there have been some significant challenges with cost and we projected that cost per gate would go up,” International Business Solutions CEO Handel Jones told EE Times. “I think they acknowledged it now with the 16FFC. The 16FFC will have some good traction especially when

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