TSMC overtakes Samsung in FinFET, confident they will land Apple A9 orders

“TSMC, which has more than half the global foundry business, has overtaken Samsung in the FinFET race to commercial production that the South Korean company was leading this year, according to industry analysts,” Alan Patterson reports for EE Times. “Both companies lag Intel, which is making FinFET chips internally.”

“‘Recent developments suggest TSMC has taken the lead over Samsung at developing [16/14nm] FinFET manufacturing technology,’ Mehdi Hosseini, a San Francisco analyst who covers TSMC and Samsung for Susquehanna Financial analyst, said in an Oct. 1 report,” Patterson reports. “Checks with industry experts suggest Samsung’s foundry has experienced a setback with its 14nm FinFET project, while TSMC’s 16nm pilot line is gaining incremental confidence among prospective customers, Hosseini said in the report. TSMC and Samsung are in a tight race to provide FinFET products to their biggest customers, Apple and Qualcomm, each of which aims to offer improved performance and lower power consumption in smartphones with the higher-density chips.”

“On Sept. 25, HiSilicon, China’s largest fabless company, announced FinFET samples for an ARM-based networking processor manufactured on TSMC’s 16nm pilot line. Hosseini said the node will enter mass production in the second half of 2015 at the earliest,” Patterson reports. “Carlos Peng, an analyst with Fubon Securities in Taipei, says FinFET chips will account for a “high single-digit percentage” of TSMC’s revenue by the third quarter of 2015. Initially, TSMC’s main customers for the new process technology will be Apple and HiSilicon, followed by Qualcomm, MediaTek, Xilinx, and Altera later in 2015. Apple may choose TSMC to make the A9 processor with FinFET technology.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which is currently using its 20nm process to produce Apple’s A8 processors for iPhone 6 devices, is confident that it will continue to land orders for A9 processors, said the sources,” Josephine Lien and Steve Shen report for DigiTimes. “Although some sources indicated that since Samsung also has some capacity for 20nm process it may take up 30% of A8 processor orders, sources in Taiwan believe that TSMC must have snapped up the entire orders for A8 processors.”

Lien and Shen report, “While Apple probably intends to adopt a dual-supplier policy to have Samsung and TSMC compete each other for the A9 processor orders, the sources also believe that the A9 processors will continue to be fabricated under a 20nm process due to current bottlenecks at 16nm or 14nm FinFET processes.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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