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UMC 'engaging' customers with new 65nm process

Posted: 24 Aug 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:300mm wafers? united microelectronics? umci?

Amid a major shift towards 90nm technology on 300mm wafers, Taiwan's United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) is quietly "engaging" customers with its new and unannounced 65nm process.

UMC has been developing its 65nm technology for some time, and now, the company appears to be talking to customers about making chips based on the process. "We're engaging with customers [for our 65nm process]," said Kuen Chow, VP of field applications engineering for UMC, the world's second largest foundry vendor.

During an interview at the Foundry Suppliers Forum (Aug. 18, 2004), Chow declined to comment on the specifics of UMC's 65nm process. Observers speculate the Taiwanese foundry company will deploy copper-interconnects, ultra low-k, and other technologies for the 65nm node.

Leading-edge chip companies plan to sample their 65nm chips as early as the first half of 2005. Foundry rival Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg Co. Ltd (TSMC) is also engaging with customers with its 65nm process technology, with products expected to be shipped in the first half of next year--or earlier. Volumes for 65nm products are not expected until 2006, according to TSMC (see June 11 story).

For once, UMC agrees with its foundry competitor. "65nm will be in mass production in 2006," Chow said.

While UMC is developing its 65nm process, the company is also making a big push for 90nm technology on 300mm wafers. "Our 90nm fabs are in mass production," he said during a presentation at the Foundry Suppliers Forum, which was sponsored by the Fabless Semiconductor Association.

UMC plans to expand its 300mm capacity, from about 20,000 wafers a month right now, to 30,000 by year's end, he said. The company has two 300mm fabs, including one in Taiwan (Fab 12A) and another in Singapore (UMCi).

- Mark LaPedus

Silicon Strategies

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