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Apple partner TSMC ramping up production of 28nm mobile chips

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is expected to begin ramping up manufacturing of its 28-nanometer ARM processors at a much faster rate, but whether Apple will begin using chips with the smaller process remains to be seen.

TSMC began generating revenues from its 28nm chips in the fourth quarter of 2011, when they accounted for about 5 percent of the company's sales, DigiTimes. But later in 2012, TSMC is expected to "significantly ramp up" production of 28nm chips.

The company's 40/45nm production took about a year and a half of production until the process contributed 10 percent to company revenues. That ramp-up schedule was slowed because the company saw yield problems in that size range.

TSMC is said to currently have a decent yield rate on its 28nm processes, but the company remains cautious on expansion, partially because the 28nm process is so new to the industry.

For example, Apple, one of the largest users of mobile processors, still relies on the 45nm manufacturing process for its latest-generation A5X ARM CPU found in the third-generation iPad. Apple is said to have viewed newer chips as a potential risk to their products, and have stuck with older processes to ensure availability and reliability.




But the custom chips Apple put in its new Apple TV and iPad 2 have been seen as evidence that the company is testing the 32nm chipmaking process. Moving to a smaller 32nm node allows the chips to be more efficient, allowing for improved battery life in iOS devices.

Apple's primary chipmaker remains Samsung, though Apple was said to have signed a major foundry agreement with TSMC last year to build future ARM-based process. One report last September claimed that Apple would use a 28nm process for a so-called "A6" processor, while an A7 chip would rely on the even smaller 20nm process.

Last month, it was also revealed that TSMC was tapped to produce power management integrated circuits for future iPhones and iPads.
Rumors have suggested that Apple has looked to forge a closer alliance with TSMC to move away from rival Samsung, with which Apple is engaged in a series of lawsuits.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 16
would be nice if it is going into the new iPhone...

if Not, it will be in the next new iPad
post #3 of 16
GlobalFoundries made this all possible and TSMC and Samsung later teamed up with them to certify ARM.

GlobalFoundries Ramp up of 28nm: http://news.radio-electronics.co/gen...balfoundries./

Tech Overview: http://globalfoundries.com/technology/32-28nm.aspx

ARM Cortex A9MP 28nm certiifcation: http://www.electronictechnology.com....l&newsid=34241

This bad boy is about to be ready for business: http://www.economist.com/node/21552607
post #4 of 16
Yeah, it would be good for Apple to not rely too much on a company that also makes a competing product. If they are moving away from Samsung for mfg of screens, processors and memory, then Samsung is going to eventually lose their business, or a large portion of it.
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

GlobalFoundries made this all possible and TSMC and Samsung later teamed up with them to certify ARM.

GlobalFoundries Ramp up of 28nm: http://news.radio-electronics.co/gen...balfoundries./

Tech Overview: http://globalfoundries.com/technology/32-28nm.aspx

ARM Cortex A9MP 28nm certiifcation: http://www.electronictechnology.com....l&newsid=34241

This bad boy is about to be ready for business: http://www.economist.com/node/21552607

It would be awesome if Apple shifted a lot of their purchasing from Sammy to GlobalFoundries, great to see a company based in the US. What a fabulous set up. Thanks for the link.
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Use duckduckgo.com with Safari, not Google Search
Been using Apples since 1978 and Macs since 1984
Long on AAPL so biased. Strong advocate for separation of technology and politics on AI.
Reply
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

It would be awesome if Apple shifted a lot of their purchasing from Sammy to GlobalFoundries, great to see a company based in the US. What a fabulous set up. Thanks for the link.

look at now many Android phone/tablet builders crashed because they bet on something that wasn't quite ready in a rush to market.

I agree as long as GF can fulfill the demand and produce a reliable product i.e., better to stay a step back and optimize where it is a sure thing than to bet on an unknown. I suspect this why Apple let them have the power mgmt, etc. as sort of a trial run.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

Yeah, it would be good for Apple to not rely too much on a company that also makes a competing product. If they are moving away from Samsung for mfg of screens, processors and memory, then Samsung is going to eventually lose their business, or a large portion of it.

Apple doesn't seem to be listening.

2011: Apple bought $7.8 billion worth of Samsung components.
2012: Apple set to buy between $9 billion and $11 billion worth of Samsung components.
post #8 of 16
Combine this with the latest .28 LTE chipset from Qualcomm, battery life should noticeably improve in The new iPhone this fall. I am betting that's what it will be called, The new iPhone.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

GlobalFoundries made this all possible and TSMC and Samsung later teamed up with them to certify ARM.

GlobalFoundries Ramp up of 28nm: http://news.radio-electronics.co/gen...balfoundries./

Tech Overview: http://globalfoundries.com/technology/32-28nm.aspx

ARM Cortex A9MP 28nm certiifcation: http://www.electronictechnology.com....l&newsid=34241

This bad boy is about to be ready for business: http://www.economist.com/node/21552607

I read the links but I didn't see anything that said TSMC is using GlobalFoundries tech. Can you point me to a reference? Thanks
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by eric475 View Post

Apple doesn't seem to be listening.

2011: Apple bought $7.8 billion worth of Samsung components.
2012: Apple set to buy between $9 billion and $11 billion worth of Samsung components.

People seem to forget that selling your product trumps lawsuits. Samsung is extemely reliable in manufacturing its parts, do much so that the new iPad almost exclusively uses their displays right now while other companies continue to ramp up production. Apple is in a business, not a lovers quarrel.
post #11 of 16
They are after all rumored to be a partner with Samsung in the Texas plant. The problem for Apple is that their chip demand has outstripped the ability of one factory to supply. Apple was rumored to be using 80% of Samsungs capacity a few years ago. Apples demands now are probably close to 50 million chips a quarter considering iPhone, touch, ATV, and iPad. That is a lot of chips.

Manufacturing wisdom would dictate having multiple suppliers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

Yeah, it would be good for Apple to not rely too much on a company that also makes a competing product. If they are moving away from Samsung for mfg of screens, processors and memory, then Samsung is going to eventually lose their business, or a large portion of it.
post #12 of 16
It is amazing how these chips just keep getting thinner and thinner. 45nm, 32 and 28nm and now looking forward to 20nm? Why at this rate in 2022 they will be a negative 10nm.

But seriously, do you think that in the future they will use the backs of batteries or other components?
post #13 of 16
Unfortunately the name of the organization escapes me at the moment. I don't believe though that TSCM was part of that organization.

It should be noted though that even though Samsung and Global Foundries are using a process based on the same research and tools the do tweak the process to their specific needs. In that regard Sansung stresses very low power while Global Foundries is biased more to performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjwal View Post

I read the links but I didn't see anything that said TSMC is using GlobalFoundries tech. Can you point me to a reference? Thanks

It can be found on the net if you know what you are looking for. Like I said the name escapes me, the members I noted are just off the top of my head. I actually remember more members than the three listed.
post #14 of 16
Even now the structures are often only a few atoms thick.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marktrek View Post

It is amazing how these chips just keep getting thinner and thinner. 45nm, 32 and 28nm and now looking forward to 20nm? Why at this rate in 2022 they will be a negative 10nm.

But seriously, do you think that in the future they will use the backs of batteries or other components?

The ultimate tablet would be a piece of glass with the circuitry built on it.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

Yeah, it would be good for Apple to not rely too much on a company that also makes a competing product. If they are moving away from Samsung for mfg of screens, processors and memory, then Samsung is going to eventually lose their business, or a large portion of it.

This is a silly argument. Samsung was in the phone business before Apple, and they profit from it. Using Samsung or not using Samsung won't change this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

They are after all rumored to be a partner with Samsung in the Texas plant. The problem for Apple is that their chip demand has outstripped the ability of one factory to supply. Apple was rumored to be using 80% of Samsungs capacity a few years ago. Apples demands now are probably close to 50 million chips a quarter considering iPhone, touch, ATV, and iPad. That is a lot of chips.

Manufacturing wisdom would dictate having multiple suppliers.

Given the constant die shrinks, wouldn't fabrication costs become extremely difficult for a smaller company? I have to wonder how many companies are capable of supplying Apple both in volume and desired price per unit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Even now the structures are often only a few atoms thick.


The ultimate tablet would be a piece of glass with the circuitry built on it.

Note Corning, although I wonder if electrical bills are part of the future when I watch this. I would imagine that aside from energy sources, energy efficiency is going to become a much much bigger thing than we've experienced up to this point. One thing that's always disturbed me about the use of glass is the amount of energy required to recycle it. It's fairly recycleable, but a large amount of energy is required to melt it down.
post #16 of 16
I wonder if apple will opt to keep the same battery and advertise more than 10 hours of battery life when these chips hit the ipads, or opt to make the ipad lighter in weight going for a smaller batter...

In any case it won't be egg frying material anymore.
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