TSMC Scrap 1000's of 12nm Silicon Wafers Due to Contamination, Nvidia GPUs May Be Affected

Written by Jon Sutton on Tue, Jan 29, 2019 5:17 PM

There has been a contamination incident at one TSMC’s manufacturing facilities that has caused a major setback in silicon wafer production.

TSMC says it has been supplied with substandard chemicals for use in fabrication, leading to the production of tens of thousands of 12nm and 16nm wafers that will need to be destroyed.

"TSMC has discovered a shipment of chemical material used in the manufacturing process that deviated from the specification and will impact wafer yield," said TSMC in a statement.

The issue stems from its Fab 14B production facility in southern Taiwan. A photoresist chemical used for manufacturing caused the problem, although the specific provider has not been named.

In terms of the effect this could have on hardware production, Nvidia uses TSMC for chip fabrication for its current crop of Turing-based GeForce RTX graphics cards.

You may remember this isn’t the only production issue TSMC has had lately. Back in July 2018, TSMC fabrication plants were hit with the WannaCry virus, causing a shutdown across various facilities that resulted in a potential $256m loss. This time around the loss is expected to be smaller, somewhere in the region of $85 million, but this could have knock-on effects for TSMC’s contracted work.

While there’s no way to tell, for now,  this could potentially mean that millions of manufactured Nvidia GPUs are going to need to be destroyed. This could ultimately have a knock-on impact on available stocks, although Nvidia’s recent Turing sales woes indicate it should still have plenty to go around.

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14:22 Jan-31-2019

Nvidia just can't help themselves price-fixing. Can they?

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05:27 Jan-31-2019

slow sales and bad batch of product means theres more of a reason that investors will lose faith in the company. going to choose a fab that does this means bad news for nvidia, again.


i guess when your head gets too big, nature will come help shrink it down some.

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14:32 Jan-30-2019

Wasn't it around 10000 wafers?

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19:54 Jan-30-2019

...and silently the title changed.. :D

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13:51 Jan-30-2019

very bad time for nvidia

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18:17 Jan-30-2019

Perfect time for AMD to capitalize, but they are useless... kek XD

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10:19 Jan-31-2019

Eh?

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19:31 Jan-31-2019

If AMD had their Navi or whatever non-Vega 7nm architecture ready, they could get a big leg up on Nvidia, since those wafers were probably not only for RTX GPUs, but also most likely those rumored GTX GPUs with no ray tracing and tensor cores.
Nvidia would have nothing, they would face shortages, while AMD would have a new fresh product out... and 7nm alone will give them a big advantage over 12/16nm, but AMD is useless as always...

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20:28 Jan-31-2019

He's not wrong.

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01:47 Feb-01-2019

useless by not releasing an unfinished product? thats not useless, thats unprepared.

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11:37 Feb-01-2019

unprepared is useless...

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07:55 Feb-01-2019

Your argument is useless.


A company surely did not release a product, because they just didn't feel like it. Surely!

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11:38 Feb-01-2019

Because that is exactly what I said... right... -_-
I said that they didn't have anything ready(apart from the 7nm Radeon VII)... thus they are useless in this situation and that was a great situation to capitalize on.

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11:34 Feb-03-2019

I still don't like the word 'useless' to be thrown in the discussion
The only company that would deserve such a word would be Intel - look at how much money they have spent in GPUs and nothing has come of it. Unlike AMD - they have very limited resources and they do the best they can AND what makes sense.


They cannot pull a GPU out of their arse just because Nvidia had problems
Nor are they keen to compete in the hi-end, because majority are brainwashed into green market

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13:47 Feb-03-2019

Intel doesn't spend too much money on GPUs. Intel for decades couldn't have a GPU due to lacking licenses to make one, while trying to get a contract with Nvidia for a decade(after AMD bought ATi), before they finally switching to AMD and getting licenses from them, because Nvidia is one of the worst companies to work with and deal with according to most companies that have worked with them...


Why do you think AMD overpaid for ATi, instead of just opening a GPU division? Especially back then when they had billions to spare? Licenses, you can't just open a GPU division, just like you can't just open an x86-64 CPU division -_-


Intel has been developing desecrate GPUs since 2017, I'd say they are progressing just fine.


mid-range 7nm GPUs could compete with high-end 12-16nm GPUs...

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13:52 Feb-03-2019

Also AMD's resources are not as limited as you think. Considering that to improve Zen from now on until probably Zen5(rumors say they will skip the naming Zen4 for some reason), they have tons of resources to develop GPUs.


The problem is that by their words in 2011 they thought that by 2020 everything would be integrated, so they basically reduced the GPU R&D budget down to 20% in the span of 2011-2017 and then realized they were wrong... Their GPU division was always profitable, considering that if people didn't buy their GPUs miners did, so yeah, no excuses for them sitting on GCN and small upgrades for almost 8 years now... -_-

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14:51 Feb-03-2019

By definition, Nvidia is USELESS. They released a product that didn't perform (in sales) as expected.
On the other hand, AMD DISAPPOINTED you by not releasing anything.

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15:19 Feb-03-2019

Hmmm... AMD is useless... not to me, to themselves... where do I stand in this? O_O
And Nvidia isn't useless, they just come out with new crap that nobody wants. but if they don't overproduce it then they will only profit from them, since R&D is already spent on them, obviously, they most likely have. Still... nvidia has capitalized every time AMD was down, AMD hasn't ever done that... Maxwell caught AMD with their pants down, since AMD's architecture was meant for the failed 20nm process node(probably would have been a polaris-like GCN architecture), Nvidia managed to produce maxwell at 28nm... not that it was better than GCN, but definitely put Nvidia in a good light and until the r9 300 series Nvidia managed to get 82% market share... not useless at all and many other instances...

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09:22 Feb-04-2019

Those 7nm GPUs are currently just redesigned old ones. They are not built from the ground up.
I didn't even expect them to do much more.


The party is still on the way, though. Question remains - how good will it be?

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10:57 Feb-04-2019

It will be sad if it's just upgraded GCN/Polaris/Vega. :/

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17:35 Feb-04-2019

Those one won't be.


They cannot be :(

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20:31 Feb-04-2019

Navi is a heavily upgraded GCN unfortunately. The reason being for optimization with games. They can't risk building a brand new GPU that won't perform optimally.

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23:27 Feb-05-2019

i guess you forget that in the 700 series. nvidia had that 780 ($650) and its top gpu was the original titan($1000). the 290 ($400) and 290x ($550) came out and nvidia had to counter with the 780ti ($700) and titan black ($1000) to save face (amd capitalized on nvida). lets not forget the failed titan z ($3000) that was underclocked from titan black to titan speeds while being a full die and still got its a$$ handed to it by the 295x2 ($1500). it was such an embarrassment nvidia hasnt released a dual gpu card since, whos performance could be matched by dual overclocked 770 ($400) or dual stock clocked 780.

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12:43 Jan-30-2019

Oh boy as if the prices of the 2000s weren't pushing me to AMD already...

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09:11 Jan-30-2019

I wonder if this is the cause of those dying 2080 Tis ? The youtube channel Tech Yes City showed how suspected Micron memory was faulty

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08:41 Jan-30-2019

Looks like AMD's competitors are having some kind of bad luck streak or something.

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09:20 Jan-30-2019

that's business - its not so much, that the superior party wins, but rather the other one just screws up at one point (like table tennis!)

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06:13 Jan-30-2019

I wonder how many ppl get fired for something like this :O

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07:55 Jan-30-2019

not much - wafer fabrication is not an easy process, contamination events are quite frequent (usually caught early-on though..)
In this case, the Wafer Fab has to pay for it and improve their processes with preventive actions

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05:27 Jan-30-2019

wow Nvidia is certainly down on their luck, just another reason for me to go Red.

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21:14 Jan-29-2019

Now this is something else. I think it is likely that the RTX 20 series is affected by this.


That's really bad. But it's something that Nvidia deserves.

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03:26 Jan-30-2019

Nah they won't be affected much,they just lost 3 days of work.Plus not only Nvidia is affected, there are some other companies like mediatek that are affected by this

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10:41 Jan-30-2019

Oh damn!

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20:26 Jan-29-2019

So the 2060 will cost 1200$ after this? ;)

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19:02 Jan-29-2019

So did AMD sabotage them like this really looks bad in a sense all of the sudden AMD is skyrocketing and now Nvidia is going low?

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19:10 Jan-29-2019

AMD has no direct access to TSMC's fabs, suppliers and so on... so very likely they didn't have anything to do with it. But you can never know.

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20:01 Jan-29-2019

Conspiracy theory thread start

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20:11 Jan-29-2019

pass, not a fan of conspiracy theories.

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20:09 Jan-29-2019

That's a hefty conspiracy theory.
Nvidia is certainly afflicted but they're not the only ones using TSMC's 12 and 16nm nodes.
I'm pretty sure AMD wouldn't do such a thing because if this were found out they'd be crucified, and probably sued into bankruptcy, not only by Nvidia but everyone using the node and TSMC themselves. It's the act of corporate sabotage, and there's a heavy price on it, especially when it's a duopoly situation.

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18:17 Jan-29-2019

I'm not joking when I say at this rate the 3000 series will be announced sooner than the 2080 Ti gets in stock in my country.

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17:56 Jan-29-2019

As if their initial batches of rtx 2000 GPUs didn't suffer enough from their own problems, now this. The RTX 2000 series are just not meant to be XD

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17:39 Jan-29-2019

omg so sorry for that wasted silicon but man did i laugh when i read that nvidia-s rtx will be affected :) like anyone with an iq over 20 would even buy them at those prices to play battlefield...

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