Semiconductor contract maker TSMC has commenced high volume production of its chips that are the first to use 7 nanometre (NM) process technology.
The chip giant claims to have dozens of customers with many different designs all ready and waiting to integrate the tech into their circuits.
TSMC said its 7nm Fin Field-Effect Transistor (FinFET) process technology has "the most competitive logic density" in the industry and "sets the pace for 7nm process technology development" by delivering 256Mb SRAM with double-digit yields.
Compared to its 10nm FinFET process, the chip maker's 7nm FinFET is said to have 1.6 times more logic density with a 20 per cent speed improvement, and a 40 per cent power reduction.
Also known as CLN7FF, the technology is also expected to enable chip designers to shrink their die sizes by up to 70 per cent. It is expected to be used to build CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, neural network processors, cryptocurrency mining accelerators, mobile SoCs and more, something the firm believes is important due to a decline in demand for smartphone chips.
"So far, we have already favoured out more than 18 customer products with good yield [and] performance," said co-CEO, C. C. Wei.
"More than 50 products tape-outs has been planned by end of this year from applications across mobile, server CPU, network processor, gaming, GPU, PGA, cryptocurrency, automotive and AI. Our 7nm is already in volume production."
According to Anandtech, TSMC's CLN7FF process technology will rely on a deep ultraviolet lithography process with argon fluoride excimer lasers operating on a 193 nm wavelength. As a result, TSMC will be able to use existing manufacturing tools to make 7nm chips.
Next year TSMC intends to introduce its first manufacturing tech that will use extreme ultraviolet lithography for select layers, called CLN7FF+, the firm's second generation 7nm fabrication process. TSMC said it is on track to start production of this updated process technology in mid-2019.
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