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TSMC ramps 0.13 micron output

50,000 wafers a month by December 2002

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TSMC will be pumping out 50,000 0.13 micron wafers per month by the end of next year, up from the 7000 wafers per month its top-end production line is producing right now, the foundry says.

During Q1 2002, TSMC hopes to ramp 0.13 micron production -currently operating at Fabs 4, 6 and 12 - up to 10,000 wafers a month. Since both its 0.15 micron and 0.13 micron production lines are currently running at maximum capacity, the company badly needs to boost production if it's to meet demand.

TSMC's announcement may well have been prompted by recent suggestions from sources close to a number of its customers that its 0.13 micron process isn't quite up to scratch and that yields are currently very low. Certainly, there's a big difference between producing wafers and producing chips that work.

It has been claimed that Nvidia's move to outsource some chip production to TSMC's chief rival, UMC, is a sign that it's unhappy with the yields TSMC is achieving. Equally, it could simply have decided to expand its production base because TSMC has more customers than it can cope with.

TSMC also said it will open a 0.1 micron production line during Q3 2002 for testing and qualification. Volume production is expected to begin in 2003. ®

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