Tuesday September 04, 2018

Chipmakers Are Unsure of Ability to Transition to Sub-10nm Technology

Chipmakers are slowing the transition to sub-10nm process nodes as money woes start to affect the foundries. Companies such as Mediatek and Qualcomm are rolling out new 14 1/2nm products while waiting in the wings for 7nm technology to mature for 5G products. As reported earlier, Globalfoundries has given up on 7nm and UMC is focusing on mature process nodes. This leaves only TSMC and Samsung to carry the sub-10nm torch for the time being.

China has a different tact to secure the sub-10nm process node. They recruited Surnamed Chou, the former TSMC deputy manager of technology at the foundry to steal confidential files detailing the entire 16nm and 10nm process nodes. He tried to take the data with him to a new job in China, but was arrested for breach of trust.

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The cost of developing sub-10nm chips is prohibitively high. HiSilicon recently said it would spend at least US$300 million developing its new-generation SoC chip manufactured using 7nm process technology.

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