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TSMC bares plan to build 450mm fab

Posted: 03 Feb 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:450mm fabs? 450mm wafer era? TSMC's 20nm production ramp?

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd (TSMC) is set to construct a 450mm fab, an analyst revealed.

The company as well as rivals Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd are all bent on building 450mm manufacturing facilities. Confirming speculations, Intel revealed that its new U.S. fab will conform to the 450mm wafer era.

Now, TSMC tipped its plans. "Last week, (TSMC CEO) Morris Chang obsoleted the world's 300mm with the blast of a conference call," said G. Dan Hutcheson, CEO of VLSI Research Inc., in a report.

"While it didn't get much attention in the media, he said their first 450mm line is planned for Fab 12 Phase VI. It will be for their 20nm production ramp. According to Morris, 'The timing of the pilot line will be around 2013-2014. Our first 450mm production line is planned for around 2015 -2016.' This is pretty much on schedule with the ITRS roadmap," Hutcheson said.

"The importance of this is that back in the 300mm days, things really didn't get going until TSMC announced a real fab. There was a lot of table pounding, but the supply base doesn't get rolling until there are real orders. Orders are not real until there's a fab in play," he said.

"That means that you can expect Samsung and GlobalFoundries to put 450mm into their plans immediately. I would bet Samsung will be first or it may well come as a Common Platform alliance deal," he added.

Despite a sudden surge in fab tool activity for the next-generation wafer size, 450mm fabs will emerge rather later than sooner, and the production target appears to have slipped.

TSMC recently raised its capital spending for 2011 amid mixed results for the quarter. As expected, TSMC expects 2011 capital expenditures to be about $7.8 billion in 2011. TSMC's original capital spending budget was about $6 billion for this year, according to analysts.

- Mark LaPedus
??EE Times

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