TSMC cranks out 65 nano prototypes



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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's biggest foundry, or chip factory for hire, has started to produce prototype chips on the 65-nanometer process and will begin commercial production by the second quarter of next year.

65-nanometer chips essentially have features that average 65-nanometers in length. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter; current cutting edge chips have 90-nanometer lengths. Shrinking the dimensions improves chip speeds as well as lowers manufacturing costs. (With smaller features, more chips can be popped out of the same wafer.)

Intel will start commercially manufacturing with 65-nanometer chips later this year while rival AMD will follow soon after. The fact that TSMC will move to 65-nanometer production so early underscores how foundries are closing the gap with traditional manufacturers. In the past, foundries would graduate to a new process a year or so after traditional manufacturers. But since so few chip manufacturers own their own plants, it has become incumbent upon the foundries to move fast.

Altera and Freescale will be two of the first companies to sell chips made on TSMC's 65-nanometer lines.

Source: CNet