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TSMC's 16nm FinFET Tech Shows Supremacy Over Intel and Samsung

Oct 21, 2014 | By Ken Liu

Industry executives believe that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has proven its mettle, by outdoing  Samsung and even Intel by successfully rolling out semiconductor industry's first 16-nanometer Fin Field-Effect Transistor (FinFET) processor designed on the ARM architecture.

The Taiwan-based foundry recently completed the networking processor for the fabless chip maker HiSilicon Technologies Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. of China. The sources say the rollout suggests HiSilicon can independently supply Huawei with the crucial processor for its applications.

Huawei purchases 22nm networking processors from Intel. The TSMC-HiSilicon collaboration, they say, suggests that China can supply high-end networking processors independently to threaten Intel.

Intel contends that that TSMC's 16nm FinFET technology has  30% lower transistor gateway density on circuits, yet some capital equipment suppliers say   TSMC has not only surpassed Intel in 20nm process technology  but far exceeds Intel in 16nm FinFET technology.

TSMC vows to catch up to Intel in two years in 10nm transistor technology, to outpace in transistor gateway density and metal interface on chips.

Industry executives say strength of chip process technology is determined by transistor efficiency, metal interface, and gateway density, and that TSMC has outstripped Intel in metal interface and gateway density.

Like Intel, Samsung claims to lead TSMC in 16nm FinFET technology. (KL)

Development of Advanced Tech at TSMC, Intel and Samsung

Company
Process technology
Progress
Main customers
TSMC
16nm FinFET
Pilot production completed in Nov. 2013, first tape-out completed in Sept. 2014, and volume production scheduled for Q2, 2015
HiSilicon, Xilinx, Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Apple
Intel
14nm FinFET
Volume production scheduled for the end of 2014
Intel
Samsung
14nm FinFET
Volume production scheduled for Q2, 2015
Qualcomm
Source: The companies



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