TSMC 230TSMC is rushing to produce 10's of millions of chips for the next iPhone, taking up nearly all their 2018 capacity at the new 7 nm node. Qualcomm and possibly Huawei have the chips at an advanced stage of design and should have sample chips in the next few months.

Rick Merritt at EE Times reports, "TSMC is in volume production of 7-nm chips today with more than 50 tapeouts expected this year. It’s making CPUs, GPUs, AI accelerators, cryptocurrency mining ASICs, networking, gaming, 5G, and automotive chips."

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Rick adds, "The new normal for performance gains and power reductions generally fall in a 10% to 20% range, a reality that makes the new packaging and specialty processes increasingly important." In other words, Moore's Law ain't dead but it's slowing down. TSMC is already building the 5 nm plant and taking delivery of EUV lithography gear. Both TSMC and Samsung have committed to $20B 3 nm fabs early next decade.

The first millimeter wave chips are likely to be power-hungry and may run hot. Linley estimates it will require as much as 10X the processing power as early LTE chips. The radio frequency front end will need to work from 600 MHz to 30 GHz or more. Carriers will require many more bands, puching the state of the art. Thousands of engineers are required.

TSMC's next five years

In 2019, TSMC expects to produce 10's of millions of seven nanometer chips, maybe more. Some will be made with EUV lithography.  Numerous inprovements will come. They say, "Compared to its 10nm FinFET process, TSMC's 7nm FinFET features 1.6X logic density, ~20% speed improvement, and ~40% power reduction. TSMC set another industry record by launching two separate 7nm FinFET tracks: one optimized for mobile applications, the other for high performance computing applications."

5 nm "risk production" is expected late in 2019. "MC's 5nm Fin Field-Effect Transistor (FinFET) process technology is optimized for both mobile and high performance computing applications. It is scheduled to start risk production in the second quarter of 2019. Compared to its 7nm FinFET Plus process, TSMC's 5nm FinFET adopts EUV Lithography for more critical layers to reduce multi-pattern process complexity while achieving aggressive die area scaling." Merritt expects, "Compared to the initial 7 nm without EUV, the 5-nm node promises a 1.8x greater density than 7 nm. However, it is only expected to reduce power by up to 20% or raise speeds by about 15%, perhaps 25% using Extremely Low Threshold Voltage (ELTV),"

 6G anyone?

 

dave ask

Newsfeed

CFO John Stephens says AT&T is going to cut capex soon.

Bharti in India has lost 45M customers who did not want to pay the minimum US#2/month. It's shutting down 3G to free some spectrum for 4G. It is cutting capex, dangerous when the 12 gigabytes/month of use continues to rise.

Huawei in 6 days sold 300,000 5G Mate 20s. Delivery begins on 8/16. 

China has over 50,000 upgraded base stations and may have more than 200,000 by yearend 2019. The growth is astonishing and about to accelerate. China will have more 5G than North America and Europe combined for several years.

5G phone prices are down to $580 in China from Oppo. Headed under $300 in 2020 and driving demand.

No one believed me when I wrote in May, 90% of Huawei U.S. purchases can be rapidly replaced and that Huawei would survive and thrive. Financial results are in, with 23% growth and increased phone sales. It is spending $17B on research in 2019, up > 10%. 

5G phones spotted from Sharp and Sony

NTT DOCOMO will begin "pre-commercial service Sept 20 with over 100 live bases. Officially, the commercial start is 2020.

 More newsfeed

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Welcome  1,800,000 Koreans bought 5G in the first four months. The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 3X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80+% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.