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.