Guru3D has posted an interesting interview with Suk Lee, Senior Director of TSMC's Design Infrastructure Marketing Division. Topics include progress on 10-nm production and the rationale behind saving FinFETs for TSMC's 16-nm node.
While Intel rolled out tri-gate transistors in the 22-nm process behind Ivy Bridge, TSMC stuck with planar transistors for its 20-nm process. According to Lee, that decision was part of a "risk mitigation strategy." The foundry's customers wanted to "squeeze every last drop out of planar," Lee says, adding that the lessons learned developing the metal stack for 20-nm production have made ramping FinFETs on 16-nm "much easier."
TSMC validated its 16-nm process with a 64-bit ARM SoC back in September. Around that time, it also announced a collaboration with ARM to produce 10-nm chips by the end of this year. Lee tells Guru3D that 10-nm qualification is still on track for the end of 2015—but that volume production isn't expected until 2017.
Although Lee doesn't specify what will come after TSMC's 10-nm process, he does reveal that work has already begun on that generation. Don't expect it anytime soon, though. Lee doesn't anticipate moving beyond 10-nm production until the 2017-2019 timeframe.
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