Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chip maker, has announced plans to spend NT$17 billion (US$502 million) to ramp up production of 300-millimeter wafers using a 90-nanometer (0.09-micron) copper process at its Fab 12 facility in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
The shift to a 90-nanometer manufacturing process will allow TSMC to make chips that use smaller features, which allows smaller chips to be produced and offers several advantages: more chips can be produced per wafer, reducing the production cost per chip, and chips can be produced that require less power and run faster.
Currently, the most advanced process used by TSMC is a 0.13-micron process.
The announcement that TSMC, in Hsinchu, is looking to ramp production of its 90-nanometer process follows last month's revelation that the company would scale back its 2002 capital expenditure plans to US$2 billion from US$2.5 billion as a result of slowing demand for chips. TSMC's board approved the ramp up Tuesday. TSMC is scheduled to begin production of chips using the 90-nanometer process at Fab 12 in the first quarter of next year, according to the company's Web site.