Feeds

Q3 chip production up despite downturn

But more plant stood idle

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More chip-making equipment effectively stood idle during Q3 2004 than Q2 as worldwide capacity utilisation rates fell, the Semiconductor International Capacity Statistics (SICAS) organisation reported this week.

But it offered a sign that the downturn may not be as bad as the utilisation figures suggest: since so much of the un-utilised plant comprised new production lines, even as overall utilisation rates fell, chip production was up.

According to SICAS, industry-wide capacity utilisation hit 92.7 per cent in Q3, down on Q2's 95.4 per cent and Q1's figure, 93.4 per cent. By contrast, Q3 2003's utilisation was just 85.9 per cent.

Despite the decline in utilisation, production - measured in the number of wafers entering the manufacturing process - was up 0.7 percentage points on Q2 and up 13.6 per cent on Q3 2003. The discrepancy arises from a 10.6 per cent sequential increase in 300mm wafer production capacity, pushing 300mm capacity utilisation down to 89.9 per cent from 95.7 per cent in Q2 and 92.1 per cent in Q1.

Chip foundries had a bumper Q3 - as witnessed by TSMC and UMC's Q3 results - with utilisation rates down from 99.4 per cent in Q2 to 97.7 per cent in Q3, but still well above the industry average. The equivalent figure for Q1 was 98.7 per cent.

During Q3, foundry production was up 8.2 per cent on Q2 and 41.9 per cent on Q3 2003. Above-average foundry performance suggests a much bigger drop in production at chip designer-manufacturers - aka integrated device manufacturers (IDMs), such as Intel, Samsung and co. The same goes for capacity utilisation.

TSMC and UMC, the world's two largest foundries, have both warned that utilisation rates will fall during Q4 - by up to 20 per cent, TSMC reckons. By contrast, IDMs should see less of a decline in Q4, since they're better able to balance production across quarters because manufacturing is slightly less dependent on direct customer demand than is the case with foundries. ®

Related stories

Intel to retain top chip maker title on 04...
Chip trade body revises 2004 sales downward
September chip sales edge up 1%
TSMC, UMC fab utilisation to plummet in Q4
ATI to spend $10m on Korean R&D plant
Intel prepares to kill off last few 130nm P4s
Intel CEO touts 'much improved' H1 '05 growth

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
'Internet Freedom Panel' to keep web overlord ICANN out of Russian hands – new proposal
Come back with our internet! cries Republican drawing up bill
What a Mesa: Apple vows to re-use titsup GT sapphire glass plant
Commits to American manufacturing ... of secret tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.