TSMC's 40 nano flub to cause GPU price hike

Just when you thought you’d heard quite enough about TSMC’s ongoing 40nm problems, more rumblings and grumblings tip up, forcing us to bring up the whole sorry state of affairs once more.

Despite recent proclamations and declarations by the Taiwanese chipmaker that it had now sorted everything out and that its chambers were no longer helplessly mismatched, Digitimes, that source of all Asian semiconductor knowledge, begs to differ.

Indeed, Digitimes’ sources reckon that “the current shortage of graphics chips, which is being caused largely by low yields of the 40nm process at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), is unlikely to be completely solved before May.” Sheeshkebab. 

We wouldn’t mind so much, if TSMC hadn’t been so adamant that its 40nm defect density had “already dropped from 0.3-0.4 per square inch to 0.1-0.3.” That, say Digitimes’ mates in the graphics card making business, is all well and good but “the improvement in overall yield still needs more time before catching up with market demand.”  

And when market demand outpaces market supply, it doesn’t take an economic genius to figure out what AMD, Nvidia and their respective partners are going to do to their 40nm GPU prices. Yep, get your hiking shoes on, folks, because you’re in for a steep climb.

An industry source close to both graphics card makers told TechEye that “the lack of 40nm capacity is absolutely impacting GPU prices. 

“TSMC holds a monopoly on the GPU market until the next generation so the market will suffer through continued constraints in 2010 and early 2011.”

TSMC, however, denied this, giving TechEye the following statement:

“Comparing with our 65nm yield ramping record, 40nm has reached the same level of yield. Our 40nm yields continue to improve at an even faster pace in the last three months.”

Faster than what, though, the firm fails to say.

Meanwhile, Glofo is sitting back and licking its fab chops at the prospect of perhaps landing both Nvidia and AMD in the near future – if Nvidia has the sense not to entrust its livelihood into TSMC’s hands yet again, that is.

 “We plan to aggressively target GPU products at the 28nm technology node and offer increased choice and competition to this high-performance segment of the market,” Glofo’s newest VP told TechEye.

Still, we bet the AMD spin-off is kicking itself that it wasn’t able to cash in on TSMC’s big 40nm flop a little earlier though. But, better later than never, eh?