TSMC to Start Risk Production of 7nm Wafers in April Using EUV Lithography

Written by Stuart Thomas on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 2:02 PM

TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) has announced it will begin 7nm risk production this April. The 7nm fabrication process has been under development at TSMC since early 2014, with TSMC employing a number of innovative technologies such as extreme ultraviolet (EUV) in order to achieve the new process technology.

What’s actually surprising is that, despite talk of setbacks, 7nm production is still bang on target to meet TSMC’s original estimates from way back back in 2014. The aim always was to enter risk production in 2017 before mass manufacturing of consumer chips around 12 months later.

While the likes of AMD and Nvidia busy themselves over 14nm and 16nm processes, the real performance leap is going to be seen when manufacturing plants can shrink down to 7nm. This year we’re likely to see 10nm chips used in smartphones, and this will prove a huge boon for power efficiency, but performance gains will be held back for 7nm.

Risk production of 7nm chips will kick off next month, including a Cortex Q72 mobile processor clocked in excess of 4.0 GHz. In total 20 products are due to be taped out this year alone.

The big change between the 7nm process and others before it is the technologies used. TSMC ran into hurdles shrinking the size node down from 10nm, essentially hitting the limit of the traditional lithographic process.

Shrinking the die down  allows semiconductor manufacturers to squeeze on more transistors in the same amount of space. This allows them to create chips with increased clock rates, lower power consumption, and a greater price to performance ratio. TSMC has been forced to adopt the new EUV tech in order to achieve this; a risky and expensive process, but one it believes will be ready for full scale production next year.

In addition to all this, TSMC also anticipates mass production of 10nm wafers ordered by Apple this year, as well as 5nm volume production by 2020.

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08:05 Mar-22-2017

i wonder what happens when we reach beyond 1NM

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08:30 Mar-22-2017

Well if it is technically possible (not in decades though), atoms are measured in picometers. So we're gonna have to develop subatomic transistors at some point in time....

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09:00 Mar-22-2017

i researched it and someone apparently already created it, a 180 picometer transistor O.o it was created in 2012 using a Phosphorus atom according to wikipedia... now don't take my word for it and think it's true as some Wikipedia info is false

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09:36 Mar-22-2017

Oh yeah I've heard of it. But a single transistor is far from a CPU :D

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10:55 Mar-22-2017

true true but we still made one and that's the important part :D

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21:06 Mar-21-2017

Lol wtf that Cortex Q72... that's a fcking cellphone CPU.... EXCEEDING FOUR GIGAHERTZ.... I want the phone they're gonna put it into :D

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10:34 Mar-22-2017

probably the Galaxy S9

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16:50 Mar-22-2017

Well I sure hope so. Gonna replace my S7 Edge with S9 Edge if that's the case :D

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17:16 Mar-22-2017

4Ghz for a RISC CPU architecture is NOT much at all, though for the power consumption it's expected to have low clock speeds.

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20:10 Mar-21-2017

i love these articles about the new tech

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17:01 Mar-21-2017

7nm... that's the synonym of a bomb right? :D

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14:42 Mar-21-2017

Glad I didn't upgrade my PSU:-)

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14:35 Mar-21-2017

A little confused about what you mean by "Risk production"... do you mean RISC?

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16:59 Mar-21-2017

I'm sure he does :D

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20:20 Mar-21-2017

Not so sure.... I found the same mistake at the article over at wccftech... which seems to be the source for this article, but not the source of the mistake, since an article vr-zone.com dating back to Oct 2016 contains the same mistake..... however an article going back to Sep 2016 on Fudzilla states the following "claimed last year that it would risk production of its 7nm process"

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20:23 Mar-21-2017

So it seems like someone misread that article from Sep 2016, used "risk production" in an entirely misinterpreted out of context way, and the mistake has carried over from article to article ever since Oct 2016, to lead us to the confusion today.

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20:30 Mar-21-2017

no, it means early production that may have yield problems, low amounts of suitable wafers and so on, basically it is like handing in an almost perfected draft, it may work just fine but there still might be some rough spots

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20:33 Mar-21-2017

I see, thanks.... is there any reference to define that? I've been unable to find one myself, and have never heard the expression.

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22:23 Mar-21-2017

my dad worked in semiconductor manufacturing for 15 years, I asked him

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00:16 Mar-22-2017

Thanks... I think that pretty much settles it then.

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09:49 Mar-23-2017

in long run risk production chips wont work...It is because of yield issues.that's called risk production.

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14:32 Mar-21-2017

Soon, 4k graphics cards will be available to all!

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17:00 Mar-21-2017

I hope so, so that I can hapily game at 1080p for years with one GPU :D

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20:09 Mar-21-2017

me 2 :)

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14:04 Mar-21-2017

good, Samsung has already experience with blowing things up xD

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15:57 Mar-21-2017

Ouch! xD

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