TSMC Tips 7+, 12, 22nm Nodes

Release time:2017-03-14
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source:EE TIMES
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Trying to cover the waterfront, TSMC disclosed plans for new high-, mid- and low-end processes at an annual event here. They included an enhanced 7nm FinFET node using extreme ultraviolet lithography, a 12nm upgrade of its 16nm process and a 22nm planar technology — its answer to fully depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI).

The foundry also described enhancements to its two chip-stacking techniques, advances in RF CMOS and work in transistors and materials, paving the way to a 3nm node and beyond. In addition, it previewed design capabilities using machine learning that it will offer before the end of the year.

Among its achievements, TSMC noted 76 percent yields on the 256Mbit SRAM made in its first-generation 7nm node, which will be in volume production next year. It also reported that an ARM Cortex-A72 processor in the node exceeded 4GHz using a new design flow.

The proliferation of different nodes, sub-nodes and platforms threatens to create a dizzying array of options. TSMC has clearly focused on easing migrations for designers, sometimes at the expense of advances measured in single digits.

The Taiwan company, already the world’s largest foundry by far, expects to ship 11 million 12-inch-equivalent wafers this year, a typical 10 percent annual increase. The biggest share—two million wafers—will use its planar 28nm processes for which it is boosting capacity 15 percent this year.

TSMC has taped out nearly 800 chips using flavors of its 28nm process. It has shipped 4.5 million 28nm wafers to date, clearly a big sweet spot it aims to defend.

Globalfoundries hopes to capture many of those customers starting this year with 22nm FD-SOI, a lower cost, lower power alternative with similar performance to TSMC’s 16nm FinFET node. TSMC claims its 22nm process provides an easier migration path from 28nm while FD-SOI requires redesigned intellectual property cores.

“Bulk semiconductor technology has been enhanced for 30 years and is used by Intel and Samsung,” the world’s two largest chip makers, said Mark Liu, TSMC’s co-chief executive in a brief interview after a keynote here. “FD-SOI will always be the technology of the future,” he quipped.

The news comes the same day NXP announced it will use FD-SOI for multiple future processors. So far, a total of just 10,000 FD-SOI wafers/month are shipping from all fabs including Globalfoundries and STMicroelectronics, said Sam Wang, a chip analyst for Gartner.

Globalfoundries may be slightly ahead in timing, ramping its 22nm FD-SOI process now with Sony image sensors in production. TSMC said its 22nm process will be in production next year, aimed at 5G RF and other mobile chips including image processors and components for wearables and the Internet of Things.

The 22nm FD-SOI node sports similar specs to TSMC’s 22nm process, “but it does not have the comprehensive IP ecosystem… and the manufacturing track record we have,” said B.J. Woo, vice president of business development at TSMC.

TSMC also plans an ultra-low power version of its 12nm FinFET process, supporting 0.5V operation and starting risk production before June. It will likely be positioned as a competitor to the 12nm FD-SOI process Globalfoundries announced last year but is not expected in production until 2019.

The ultra-low power TSMC 22nm process should deliver a 20 percent area shrink and either 0.45x the power or 1.32x the speed of its 28 HPM process, Woo said. Compared to its 28 HPC+ process, the 22nm is a direct optical shrink with better transistors and 0.6 Vdd operation offering 10 percent smaller size and 35 percent less power or 15 percent more speed, she said.

TSMC’s 22nm node uses the same mask counts, design rules, SRAM bit cells and I/O devices as its 28HPC+ node. Designers only need to adopt its boosted transistors and re-characterize foundation IP to ensure they meet new margins, Woo said.

“The migration effort is really different [from FD-SOI]—it’s a day and night difference,” said Jack Sun, a vice president of R&D at TSMC.

TSMC’s Liu said the foundry expects 70 tape outs of IoT chips this year across its family of ultra-low power processes that range from 55 to 28nm. The 40nm ULP process has been characterized for near-threshold operation driving energy efficiency to 11 microamps/MHz, he said.

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TSMC’s announcement last week that it expects its quarterly sales to decline precipitously quarter to quarter put the chip foundry market on notice as it begins what is expected to be a challenging year.TSMC (Hsinchu, Taiwan) said that it expects sales to decline nearly 14% quarter to quarter to between $7.3 billion and $7.4 billion. It would be the largest quarter-to-quarter sales decline for the world’s leading foundry since 2009.The expected shortfall has been largely blamed in weaker-than-expected sales of Apple’s newest iPhones, which features Apple-designed processors built by TSMC. But the weak sales guidance is also indicative of larger challenges facing the foundry industry, according to Bill McClean, a veteran semiconductor analyst and president of market research firm IC Insights.“The foundry market is in a difficult position in 2019,” McClean told EE Times in an email exchange. IC Insights said earlier this month that nearly all of the pure-play foundry industry’s growth in 2018 came from Chinese firms. TSMC alone saw its revenue from China increase by 61% last year, according to the firm.“Apple represented about 22% of TSMC’s sales last year, and we all know that Apple has backed down its expectations for this year,” McClean said. Apple earlier this month cut its sales forecast for the first time since 2002.Much of the growth in foundry business from China came from the cryptocurrency business, a market that has softened considerably amid a plunge in cryptocurrency prices, McClean said.According to McClean, the pure-play foundry market also faces technology challenges. “TSMC is the only pure-play foundry offering leading-edge feature-sized technology,” he said. “All of the other pure-play foundries are now labeling themselves as specialty foundries, offering embedded memory, image sensor, SOI, etc. technology at relaxed feature sizes.”The result has been a glut in specialty foundry capacity, according to McClean. Both TSMC and Samsung — an integrated device manufacturer that also offers leading-edge foundry capacity — are also players in the specialty foundry market, he said.“It is so bad now that most foundries talk about overcapacity at the 28-nm node lasting for a couple of years,” McClean said.IC Insights is currently forecasting that the foundry market will grow about 2% in 2019, the same growth rate that the firm has projected for the semiconductor industry as a whole.TSMC reported sales of $9.4 billion for the fourth quarter of 2018, up 10.7% compared to the third quarter of 2018 and up 2% compared to the fourth quarter of 2017. TSMC reported that 7-nm revenue was 23% of the company’s fourth-quarter total, while 10 nm accounted for 6% and 16/20 nm accounted for 21%.
2019-01-23 00:00 reading:771
On August 3, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC), the largest chip fabricator globally introduced a WannaCry Ransomware cryptowormvariant onto its information technology/operational technology (IT/OT) networks. A TSMC supplier installed infected software on a new fabrication tool and connected it to the network, facilitating the malware infestation.The infection spread quickly, taking out 10,000+ unpatched Windows 7 machines that run the chip fab company’s tool automation interface. The crypto worm crashed and rebooted systems endlessly, forcing several plants in Taichung, Hsinchu andTainan to shut down through much of the weekend.The infection crippled materials handling systems and production equipment as well as Windows 7 computers. Some of the plants were producing SoC chips for the AppleiPhone 8 and X models. The incident’s connection to Apple and the iPhone heightened its visibility in the news media.According to TSMC CEO C.C. Wei, patching for the Windows 7 machines requires computer downtime and collaboration with equipment suppliers. The absence of currentpatches created an environment where WannaCry could easily propagate.The 2018 Spotlight Report on Manufacturing published by Vectra a few weeks before the incident foretold TSMC’s infection, which could cost the company as much as $255 million.Smart manufacturer cybersecurity risks are increasingAccording to the TSMC website, the company had “introduced new applications such as IoT, intelligent mobile devices and mobile robots to consolidate data collection, yield traceability, workflow efficiency, and material transportation to continuously enhance fab operation efficiency.” Further, TSMC had “integrated automatic manufacturing systems,” according to its website.These innovations are typical in the evolution of Industry 4.0, which has increased the risk of cyber attacks against manufacturers.But as manufacturers moved from air-gapped industrial systems to cloud-connectedsystems as part of the IT/OT convergence – using unpartitioned networks and insufficient access controls for proliferating IIoT devices – they created a massive, vulnerable attack surface, according to the Vectra report.While air-gapped systems such as industrial controls have no connections by design to guard against malicious tampering, IT/OT convergence has connected these systems to information technologynetworks with little accounting for security vulnerabilities.Many factories connect IIoT devices to flat, unpartitioned networks that rely on communication with general computing devices and enterprise applications. Since IIoT devices support few if any native cybersecurity measures, connecting them to easily infected applications, computers and unsegregated IP networks only invites trouble.In the past, manufacturers relied on more customized, proprietary protocols, which made mounting an attack more difficult for cybercriminals. The conversion from proprietary protocols to standard protocols makes it easier to infiltrate networks to spy, spread and steal.Few if any cyberattackers know and understand the proprietary protocols those closed legacy systems used. But it’s easy for most criminal hackers and their exploits to access standard IP network protocols just as WannaCry abuses the SMB protocol where there is no patch.Real-time network visibility is crucial Industry 4.0 brings with it a new operational risk for connected, smart manufacturers and digital supply networks. The interconnected nature of Industry 4.0-driven operations and the pace of digital transformation mean that cyber attacks can have far more damaging effects than ever before, and manufacturers and their supply networks may not be preparedfor the risks.Wherever cyber attacks interfere business continuity for business and information processes, they can also disrupt operational technologies that render products and get them out the door.For cyber-risk to be adequately addressedin the age of Industry 4.0, manufacturing organizations need to ensure that proper visibility and response capabilities are in place to detect and respond to events as they occur. As in the case of the TSMC ransomware debacle, anything less than real-time detection and response is too little, too late to avoid production downtime.There is no visibility into these systems to enable real-time detection before cyber attacks spread. Visibility into these internal connected systems is necessary to curtail the extent of damage from a cyberattack.Manufacturing security operations now require automated, real-time analysis of entire networks to proactively detect and respond to in-progress threats before they do damage.The Vectra 2018 Spotlight Report on ManufacturingThe 2018 Spotlight Report on Manufacturing delineates the many attack types and behaviors that the Cognito platform captured. The Cognito threat-detection and hunting platform monitored traffic and collected rich metadata from more than 4million devices and workloads from customer cloud, data center, and enterprise environmentsto reveal the cyberattacker behaviors.Cyber attacks on manufacturers increased in severity from January to June 2018 based on data that the Vectra Cognito platform collected. The Vectra report confirms that all manufacturing industries are at equal risk of cyberattacks.To learn about other findings pertinent to your Industry 4.0 cybersecurity risk, download the 2018 Spotlight Report on Manufacturing.Christopher Morales is the head of security analytics at Vectra, a San Jose, Calif. cybersecurity firm that detects hidden cyberattacks and helps threat hunters improve the efficiency of incident investigations.
2018-08-28 00:00 reading:446
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