TSMC forecasts near 100% share of 28nm chip market in 2013, may signal massive Apple orders

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Chairman and CEO of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Morris Chang said on Friday that he expects his company to be responsible for almost all chips built on the 28nm process in 2013, prompting analysts to suggest that the company may have struck a deal with Apple to build the next-generation of A-series SoCs.

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Chang expects to spend some $9 billion in capital expenditures in 2013 as shipments of chips made on the firm's 28nm process triple, reports the China Times (via The Next Web). The chief executive sees capex rising even further in 2014 as the company moves toward more advanced 20nm and 16nm technology.

With claims of a near monopoly on 28nm wafer shipments, analysts predict that TSMC has secured orders from Apple to build the next-generation of the iPhone maker's A-series chips. Currently, Apple uses Samsung foundries for their chip making needs, though rumors have been circulating that the partnership may soon end.

The predictions are in line with rumors that claimed TSMC has already begun to produce trial batches of the A6X processor found in the fourth-generation iPad. Existing versions of the iPad and iPhone 5 use processors built on Samsung's 32nm process, but Apple will likely move to more efficient 28nm technology with its next-gen designs. The move is to be expected as Apple went from the 45nm process to the 32nm process last year.

As for TSMC, the company is forecasting a drastic rise in revenues from its 28nm wafers. In 2012, 28nm chip shipments accounted for roughly $2.1 billion, or 12 percent of the firm's yearly revenue. That number is expected to reach $6.2 billion in 2013.

The Taiwanese company is also rumored to be building a foundry in the U.S. According to numerous reports, TSMC is believed to be the company behind what is known as "Project Azalea," a mystery development thought to be a chip manufacturing facility connected to Apple.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,116member


    Hot Damn.. if true, pretty impressive. 

  • Reply 2 of 57
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Re: "may signal massive Apple orders"

    Ya think?
  • Reply 3 of 57
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    What kind of power saving are we talking about going from a 32nm to a 28nm process? What is the equation for this?
  • Reply 4 of 57
    archarch Posts: 66member


    Intel ivy bridge (3rd gen i series) processors are already 22nm

  • Reply 5 of 57
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    arch wrote: »
    Intel ivy bridge (3rd gen i series) processors are already 22nm

    And?
  • Reply 6 of 57
    archarch Posts: 66member


    Performance improvement is about the square of the ratio of the transistor sizes. So here (32/28)^2 = 30%

  • Reply 7 of 57
    archarch Posts: 66member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    And?




    If intel could fabricate chips for apple, we could expect dramatic performance and battery life improvements

  • Reply 8 of 57
    From the rumors, I'm going to guess an iPhone 5S this year will have a 28nm A6X processor and a fingerprint scanner on the home button. Next year's iPhone 6 could have a 16nm A7 processor, built-in NFC and a new form factor. I'm keeping my 4S until the 6 comes out.
  • Reply 9 of 57
    archarch Posts: 66member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GadgetCanada View Post



    From the rumors, I'm going to guess an iPhone 5S this year will have a 28nm A6X processor and a fingerprint scanner on the home button. Next year's iPhone 6 could have a 16nm A7 processor, built-in NFC and a new form factor. I'm keeping my 4S until the 6 comes out.




    20nm seems more like it for the 2014 iPhone .

  • Reply 10 of 57
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    arch wrote: »

    If intel could fabricate chips for apple, we could expect dramatic performance and battery life improvements

    Intel could but there is no indication that Intel would fab ARM chips for Apple or anyone else and there is plenty of reasons why Intel would avoid doing so. I believe AnandTech ran through the possibilities recently.
  • Reply 11 of 57
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    From the rumors, I'm going to guess an iPhone 5S this year will have a 28nm A6X processor and a fingerprint scanner on the home button. Next year's iPhone 6 could have a 16nm A7 processor, built-in NFC and a new form factor. I'm keeping my 4S until the 6 comes out.

    I don't see a reason for any X chip in the iPhone with the current resolution. I'd expect an A7 at 32 or 28nm to find its way into the successor to the iPhone 5.

    As for a fingerprint reader in the phone that seems so gimmicky to me. If it's faster than putting in a PIN then I guess it would make sense but I'd think any tech that can determine your identity would have other features that supersede an attempt at secure authentication.
  • Reply 12 of 57
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    What kind of power saving are we talking about going from a 32nm to a 28nm process? What is the equation for this?

    It isn't that simple. Processes can be optimized for speed or low power. So you have to ask which process Apple will use. They might use both, using the low power/speed process for iPhone and a high speed process for iPad. So Apple might get anywhere from a 20 to 45% power savings over today's chips at the same clock rate.

    All in all this is good news.
  • Reply 13 of 57
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,436member


    Goodbye Samsung, CYA! Wouldn't want to be ya! image


     


    This could be huge, if Apple is finally moving away from Samsung, for at least the CPUs.


     


    That's the news that I take out of this story.

  • Reply 14 of 57

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  • Reply 16 of 57
    That is one ugly logo for a company though
  • Reply 17 of 57


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  • Reply 18 of 57
    ksecksec Posts: 1,551member
    pinolo wrote: »
    That is one ugly logo for a company though

    Yes. I constantly question why TSMC hasn't updated their Logo. But Since they aren't really a consumer facing company may be they thought it didn't matter.

    I haven't read the original info. So some of what this is reported may be not in context of what TSMC was really trying to say. To have 100% 28nm in 2013 would means Samsung wont be doing any 28nm apart from themselves. And GF hasn't secured any 28nm design win.

    I still have doubt over Apple moving to TSMC in such a quick pace ( unless it has been planned ahead for years ), otherwise i cant think of any things else that could make TSMC 28nm output nearly triple.
  • Reply 19 of 57


    Would Apple go again with just one supplier?


    Maybe TSMC for the iPhone on 28nm and Samsung on 32nm for the iPad?


    Hopefully they can find a few more reliable suppliers for the chips.

     

  • Reply 20 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by arch View Post


    Intel ivy bridge (3rd gen i series) processors are already 22nm



     


    Yes, and they scale like crap wrt the latest from AMD. Global Foundries collaborating with TSMC and to some extent, Samsung have all three stamped out 14nm FinFET for mobile. All three are releasing general consumer products with this tech in a 20nm/14nm FinFET arrangement.


     


    Good article on the 20nm planar/14nm FinFET race: http://semimd.com/blog/tag/14nm/


     


    At any rate, ARM and AMD will be benefiting from this tech to keep pushing the boundaries and Intel will be hitting a brick wall with their poor multi-threading architecture no longer having TDP and single-threading leads that has been beat to death in marketing and fully hiding the fact Intel absolutely stinks at multi-core scalability in fully parallel computing.


     


    With AMD and ARM now partners to create hybrid servers it will be an interesting next 5 years.

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