40-nm yield problems could drag into next year

Despite TSMC's assurances, 40-nm yields might not improve until well into next year. So says Fudzilla, which got word from anonymous sources that those yields are still stuck around the 50% mark, and that the resulting shortage of 40-nm graphics processors might not ease until the second quarter of 2010.

If you're not in the know, TSMC produces GPUs for the vast majority of graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia, and it's responsible for the ongoing scarceness of Radeon HD 5800-series cards based on the 40-nm Cypress chip. TSMC itself admitted to manufacturing problems in October, saying "chamber matching issues" had caused yields to fall to 40%. However, TSMC CEO Morris Chang vowed things would go back to normal before the end of the year.

As Fudzilla points out, poor yields continuing into next year would affect not just AMD's Cypress, but also Nvidia's next-gen, Fermi-based GF100 GPU. The GF100 should have an even larger footprint than Cypress, and unlike AMD, Nvidia has yet to announce smaller DirectX 11 derivatives.

In a separate story, Fudzilla goes on to write that volume shipments of Fermi-based products won't start until later next quarter. Nvidia should have "final samples" in January and could stage a launch then, but the site reckons actual retail availability won't follow until March 2010.

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