Nvidia is coming to the end of the filling product offering graphics cards GeForce 900 series of processors based on the architecture of Maxwell, which are manufactured in 28-nanometer lithography. Nvidia also has a 20-nanometer processors Tegra X1. For some time, there are reports that the company is part of the production of its chips can move the factories TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) to Samsung. The latest news from South Korea show that not only mobile processors, but also GeForce graphics processors will be manufactured in factories Samsung, using 14-nanometer lithography FinFET-based three-dimensional transistors.
The production process of 14 nm FinFET uses the latest techniques in 3D transistors and is used for the latest generation of processors Exynos 7, which goes to the new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Very good results on the side of Samsung prompted Nvidia to yet partial resignation of TSMC, so the manufacturer, which recently faced with new problems related to the implementation of the mass production of chips at 20-nanometer lithography.
Recent reports indicate that TSMC now has trouble reaching an acceptable yield in the production based on 16-nanometer process, and mass deliveries can move no earlier than summer of this year. Of course, apply it initially will be small units, and so large and complex graphics processors can forget. It is worth noting that TSMC due to problems they do not even that it will offer production in full 16-nanometer integrated circuits. Summer will start production in the hybrid process, and therefore the connecting lithography solutions 16 and 20 nanometer.
Further delays in the implementation of new production processes meant that Nvidia has decided to consider other options, and the choice was really only three companies – Intel, Samsung and Globalfoundries. Informants revealed that the contract for the production of new 14-nanometer graphics processors Samsung won and we immediately noted that there is no question of a limitation to the mobile units Tegra series. In fact, it is said directly about the GPU.
It is not known yet what specific graphics processors Samsung will produce for Nvidia using 14-nanometer FinFET process 3D. There are two possibilities. Or contract is for a completely new processor architecture-based systems or Pascal Maxwell transferred to the new lithography. Both options seem to be associated with the same levels of probability. Next year, Nvidia actually plans to launch GPUs based on a new architecture, but this time the company may want to check the operation of the new production process on the well-known Maxwell architecture and market improved units – faster and more energy efficient. It is worth noting that just such a policy applies Intel. For example Broadwell processors are just an extension of architecture Haswell, but moved from the 22- to 14-nanometer lithography. In the latter they will produce a sixth-generation integrated core, so Skylake based on a completely new architecture.
According to informants Korea Times aforementioned contract between Nvidia and Samsung, valued at several million dollars. The exact amount is not known, but “few” indicates that this is not something special great investment on the side of Nvidia. At the same time South Korean sources say that the agreement is not limited to a particular product group, and this may mean that a contract is only a prelude to a much wider cooperation Nvidia and Samsung. It’s hard not to notice that among IC manufacturers Samsung is slowly growing into a major power. The company already produces chips for Apple and Qualcomm, and now the big players are joined by Nvidia. Thus, the market position of TSMC weakening.