An incident at one in all TSMC’s manufacturing amenities has reportedly ruined tens of 1000’s of 16/12nm wafers… y’know all these slices of silicon from which spawn Nvidia’s total present lineup of graphics playing cards. The downside is right down to imported chemical substances used within the manufacturing course of not being as pure as is required, leading to contaminated wafers that are then unusable.
This isn’t the primary time the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (for those who’re not into the entire brevity factor) has skilled some brutal manufacturing issues. Last 12 months a ‘misoperation during the installation process for a new tool’ brought about a virus to spread around a number of its fabs, which itself resulted within the scrapping of 1000’s of wafers.
That halt in manufacturing price the corporate round $85m, however TSMC has but to launch an estimate about what this newest incident goes to do to its backside line. But, provided that the 16/12nm manufacturing node is one in all its hottest – with the likes of Nvidia, HiSilicon, and MediaTek contracting the corporate to make their chips – the manufacturing losses could possibly be far worse this time round.
The report has come from Expreview (through Chiphell) and explains that the wafer contamination has to date solely been noticed at Fab 14 on the Nanke Technology Park, so it doesn’t seem like it has unfold past that. The imported chemical supplies accountable needs to be simply trackable, and so TSMC should shortly be capable to cease them getting used anyplace else and guarantee no different fab falls sufferer to the reported impurities.
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The piece additionally states that TSMC doesn’t know the extent of the harm but because the manufacturing course of signifies that wafers can solely be checked on the finish of the road, and so it’s troublesome to say what number of of them are to date truly contaminated. The estimates, nevertheless, put the determine at tens of 1000’s of wafers.
That might imply an entire lot of potential model new Nvidia GPUs are within the technique of being scrapped. And after what went on within the graphics card market final 12 months, the very last thing we’d like now’s one other GPU scarcity…