We don't normally cover TSMC
directly, but the firm's 40nm troubles had a material impact on both AMD
in the past few quarters, so we thought we'd take a peek at the company's financials. The company's quarterly results were excellent; net income rose 162.5 percent compared to a year ago, while revenue was up 42.6 percent. Broken down by industry segment, sales in communications and consumer segments fell eight and 15 percent, but computer-related sales grew by 22 percent.
A wafer of 40nm ATI Radeons. Now if only they could make more of them...
Despite the firm's well-publicized issues, the company's 40nm yields do appear to be improving. TSMC reported that its advanced process technologies (defined as 130nm production and below) accounted for 70 percent of wafer revenue. The breakdown was as follows: 90nm sales were 16 percent of revenue, 65nm sales were 30 percent, and 40nm sales accounted for nine percent (up from four percent in Q3). For all the talk and excitement over cutting edge process nodes, it's worth noting that older "obsolete" production facilities continue to produce significant levels of revenue. 130nm manufacturing is ancient by Intel's (or even AMD's) standards; the former launched its 130nm Northwood CPUs in 2001 while the latter debuted "Thoroughbred" Athlon XP cores in 2002. 30 percent of TSMC's revenue, however, is derived from manufacturing technologies older
than 130nm. Clearly there's still value in the older technology.
Asked about the company's expectations for Q1 2010, Laura Ho, VP and Chief Financial Officer of TSMC had this to say. "Although first quarter normally is a sequentially declining quarter for all three major semiconductor applications, we expect the demand from consumer related applications to grow in first quarter of 2010, while computer and communication related applications will decline following their seasonal pattern." Hopefully those demand shifts come along with an end to 40nm yield trouble.