Is This Bad News for Us Enthusiasts?


Apr 17, 2009
Two articles have appeared recently citing sub-30% yields from TSMC’s 40nm process technology. This has the potential to impact you and I, the consumers, even on this new process node, due to the fact that ATI and Nvidia both buy products from TSMC. The 40nm production relates to both company’s latest round of GPU products.

ATI’s recent Sub-$100 ATI Radeon HD 4770 and existing Radeon HD 4870 graphics cards are built on 40nm processes. Nvidia’s latest GTX300 series are also built on 40nm processes.

Part of TSMC’s problem is high leakage, though in Nvidia’s case it is being reported they may need to send out another silicon revision for manufacturing, as there may be issues related to TSMC’s manufacturing process which can be corrected through a change in the wire layout.


Apr 27, 2009
I have 2 4770's for sale so for me, it's good news as there will be even less of them about hooray!! But non-selfishly, I wouldn't worry as they will sort it out for sure, it will be just a blip (potentially a good blip for vicious capitalists like me)
AC :kaola:
Most of this is down to speculation. Theres problems, no doubt, but to fully know exactly what they are? Nope.
Theyre inferring a wire layout change could correct a leakage problem, while if true, means the problem isnt fully corrected. It could mean theres noise within the chip due to leakage, and interfering with the signal going thru the wires, so moving them would prevent this, but the leakage still persists. Past nodes we saw leakage problems in certain nodes also, like nVidias inability to use Gddr4, or the R600 @ 80nm, which was really a killer for that card.
I think thats what theyre referring to, the R600 debacle, and how it stymied that gen from ATI, as the power/heat issues + noise by trying to diffuse that heat meant for a hot, high power usage, noisy card.
This means several things. Since it wont be exclusive, TSMC will have to fully solve this one, as ATI is taped out, and so is nVidia, or close, for their next gen. That leaves the honus on TSMC to correct this ASAP, unlike the R600 gen, which was done a a new node, late to the game, and ATI had to just bite the bullet so to speak.
In other words, this issue will be solved to the satisfaction of both ATI and nVidia this round, with the only real possible scenario of hurting the gamers would be a delay of ready to market new gen products coming from ATI, which would really take the brunt of it, simply because, if, again, as rumors put it, theyre ready to market, but delayed by this brings nVidias release date closer to ATI,s, which then wont have the market all to themselves for a longer period of time, My 2c
Well, the R700 was a x2 card, while the R600 was a single, and couldnt be done at a x2 because of this issue, and the G80 reigned supreme . It wasnt until on the much better node that the 3870x2 came along, and briefly captured the crown.
I suppose it wouldve been possible, tho highly unlikely (due to die size) if the 80nm node hadnt been so leaky we could have seen a 2900x2, which would have been a better challenge to the 8800GTX