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As foundries struggle with 80nm, TSMC readies plans for 45nm

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) recently disclosed details on its new 45nm process, with the first one released on the market to be a low-power version.  Following the low-power version will be several variations of the technology.  TSMC will then move into "risk production" for the low-power version in the fourth quarter of 2007.    

To help with the transition from 65nm to 45nm, a new lower-k interlayer dielectric material and the introduction of immersion lithography will be required, which could potentially lead to problems.  One of the problems that will need to be solved is that TSMC has not yet accepted a high-threshold transistor design that is required for the node.  TSMC has had a reportedly difficult time making the transition from 90nm to 80nm manufacturing.

Both ATI and NVIDIA have large interests in TSMC.  ATI currently is working with TSMC to produce its 80nm GPUs, with 65nm GPUs scheduled for 2007.  ATI's roadmap originally claimed that several components, including RV560 and RV570, would use TSMC's 80nm process -- but has instead opted to manufacture these processors on 90nm instead.  NVIDIA also has announced that it will back TSMC's "half-node" 80nm process, but so far does not have any 80nm GPUs on its roadmap.




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