Analyst talks of continued TSMC yield problems at 40nm


— 1:28 PM on July 1, 2009

Availability of 40nm graphics processors might get worse before it gets better. According to EE Times, TSMC—the biggest manufacturers of GPUs for both AMD and Nvidia—continues to experience poor 40nm yields.  Those poor yields may affect shipments for the second half of this year, the site says.

Here's the word from FBR Capital Markets analyst Mehdi Hosseini, as quoted by EE Times:

In fact, not only do our checks suggest 40-nm yields but, to our surprise, these have remained below 30 percent, affecting shipments in 2H09 . . . We believe yields are as low as 20 percent to 30 percent, which may explain the recent management change. We think some key customers who are increasing 40-nm tape-outs have already started to evaluate other foundries (UMC) in case yields do not improve soon.

Reportedly, TSMC recently admitted to yield problems at the 40nm half-node, but it claimed those were "largely fixed." The foundry firm also replaced its CEO last month.

Despite the poor 40nm yields, EE Times says TSMC did relatively well financially in the second quarter. Projections suggest TSMC grew its revenue to $2.3 billion and its net income to $758.2 million, increases of 90% and 1,487%, respectively, over the previous quarter. Both figures are lower than those from a year before, though.

Notable products using TSMC-built 40nm GPUs include AMD's Radeon HD 4770, Nvidia's newest mobile GPUs, and AMD's Mobility Radeon HD 4800 series.

   
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