TSMC shrinks memory to 0.13 microns

The process will mean cheaper, more efficient memory modules for TSMC's customers, as well as potentially lower costs for consumers

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) says it has successfully made SRAM memory chips using an advanced 0.13-micron manufacturing process at its Fab 12. The process will mean cheaper, more efficient memory modules for TSMC's customers, as well as potentially lower costs for consumers.

Most semiconductor manufacturers today, including Intel, use a 0.18-micron process. Shrinking the semiconductor geometry requires technical expertise but it cuts manufacturing costs while increasing the chip's speed and efficiency. The 0.13-micron process means that a typical feature on the chip measures 0.13 microns.

The company said it has achieved similar yields to those of more established processes. One customer has already taped out -- or finalised -- a 0.13-micron SRAM product, the company said.

Chip makers are ultimately planning to move computer processors to 0.13-micron and 0.10-micron processes, which will mean they can pack more transistors -- and thus more processing power -- into a reasonable-sized chip. Intel has already begun manufacturing a 0.13-micron Pentium 4 and Taiwan's VIA Technologies -- a TSMC customer -- is planning to make a high-end processor on TSMC's 0.10-micron process in 2003 or 2004.

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