News TSMC Uses AMD's EPYC Chips to Make Chips

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Titan
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There is nothing weird about having a circular manufacturing chain where stuff you make ultimately gets used to help you make more better stuff. Workshops often need to make custom tools for a job or even make the custom tools needed to make custom tools for a job. For robots and multi-axes machining, high-precision machines get gilded and used to make higher-precision parts in order to make even higher precision machines possiblem, rinse and repeat until you have reached the desired level of precision or the practical limits within a given budget.

Practically all industries where the machines can be used to improve themselves in some way have a circular element to it.
 

sreams

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There is nothing weird about having a circular manufacturing chain where stuff you make ultimately gets used to help you make more better stuff. Workshops often need to make custom tools for a job or even make the custom tools needed to make custom tools for a job. For robots and multi-axes machining, high-precision machines get gilded and used to make higher-precision parts in order to make even higher precision machines possiblem, rinse and repeat until you have reached the desired level of precision or the practical limits within a given budget.

Practically all industries where the machines can be used to improve themselves in some way have a circular element to it.
I suppose what makes this a little different is the fact that these are not custom tools. It just so happens that the product TSMC manufactures for a customer is a good fit for their needs. I suspect that doesn't happen all that often.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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I suppose what makes this a little different is the fact that these are not custom tools. It just so happens that the product TSMC manufactures for a customer is a good fit for their needs. I suspect that doesn't happen all that often.
It likely happens 24/7, just not with parts people can be bothered to know about. Each ASML machine probably has 100+ micro-controllers, SoCs, DSPs, FPGAs, CPLDs, etc. made in TSMC fabs and many more made elsewhere. Everyone has dependencies with everybody else.

If you think 100 processors of some sort is a lot for a 100 tons wafer-processing machine that is in charge of managing wafer exposure at sub-nanometer precision, keep in mind that modern cars where nearly everything is controlled by wire to some extent can have 200+.
 

Co BIY

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I'm pretty sure that if you searched the TSMC plant you would find IC tech from nearly every company worldwide that makes it.

AMD is a bigger customer to TSMC than Intel but Intel accounted for ~8% of revenue IIRC.

On the other hand this is probably another step towards Skynet.
 

sreams

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It likely happens 24/7, just not with parts people can be bothered to know about. Each ASML machine probably has 100+ micro-controllers, SoCs, DSPs, FPGAs, CPLDs, etc. made in TSMC fabs and many more made elsewhere. Everyone has dependencies with everybody else.

If you think 100 processors of some sort is a lot for a 100 tons wafer-processing machine that is in charge of managing wafer exposure at sub-nanometer precision, keep in mind that modern cars where nearly everything is controlled by wire to some extent can have 200+.
What you are referring to is specific to TSMC. I'm simply saying that most manufacturing companies probably don't use their clients' products all that often. As in... whomever makes that plastic chair for IKEA, or whomever makes the turn signal switch in your car. I was also addressing your point about custom tools. Obviously EPYC chips used in TSMC's servers are not custom made for that application.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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What you are referring to is specific to TSMC. I'm simply saying that most manufacturing companies probably don't use their clients' products all that often. As in... whomever makes that plastic chair for IKEA, or whomever makes the turn signal switch in your car.
For all you know, the entire office where the person who designed the turn signal, the injection molding machine used to manufacture it, the plastic refinement process used to produce the raw pellets used for injection, etc. could have been furnished exclusively with Ikea stuff.

My comment was primarily with regard to manufacturers of manufacturing equipment and parts thereof. It isn't specific to TSMC, almost nobody does everything that touches their business in-house from scratch - they need to get the raw materials from somewhere. While EPYC may not be a custom tool created for TSMC, it does not change the fact that it did find its way back from TSMC into TSMC's manufacturing process as an upgrade for whatever was there before.
 

kmi187

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What does surprise me in all this, Itanium is still used for mission critical stuff. Aren't spare parts for those things getting rather rare by now?
 

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Titan
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What does surprise me in all this, Itanium is still used for mission critical stuff. Aren't spare parts for those things getting rather rare by now?
The last-ship date for new Itanium CPUs is scheduled for July 29th 2021, so it shouldn't be too hard to find replacement CPUs for a while longer.

Some companies still run critical stuff like payroll on VAX and AS/400 systems. There are even training programs to keep COBOL alive due to the amount of companies that still rely on systems that extensively use practically dead programming languages.
 

sreams

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For all you know, the entire office where the person who designed the turn signal, the injection molding machine used to manufacture it, the plastic refinement process used to produce the raw pellets used for injection, etc. could have been furnished exclusively with Ikea stuff.
Could have been... but likely wasn't.
 

ginthegit

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I do find this a bit odd, and I am not going to say why, because for most it would envelop the type of theories that Ed Snowdon comes out with. The AMD chip is particularly vulnerable to Spectre, and this is not usual practice for a CISC chip to be used in this way, Primarily for the reasons of Security.
Risc architectures or even more preferable, would use PICs and their Ilk, because the processes run are Highly linear and, rather than have one Complex chip do everything even to controling the robots, you have lots of smaller chips being slaved, so that the smaller chips cannot do naferious things (after being hacked) and produce usual products using usual subroutines. Part of the Modification process and the 6 month cycle to get a Fab plant to produce new Lithography sizes, is to reprogram all the chips (useing internal writing to the RAM of PIC's etc) that are required for the printing of the new sizes, and changing the gear systems to produce smaller and more precise movements when cutting layers and placing VIAs.

It is all time consuming, but adds a layer of security that makes hacking etc near impossible (unless you know the hardware intimately), and the process very refined and controlled making use of Mechatronics to the most advanced level, without giving one person the keys to the kingdom remotely.

This method would be more efficient, but if the system is connected online, expect TSMC to get attacked sooner or later.

The fact is, this could have been done before with Intel chips, they question is why?
 

Gomez Addams

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I do find this a bit odd, and I am not going to say why, because for most it would envelop the type of theories that Ed Snowdon comes out with. The AMD chip is particularly vulnerable to Spectre, and this is not usual practice for a CISC chip to be used in this way, Primarily for the reasons of Security.
Risc architectures or even more preferable, would use PICs and their Ilk, because the processes run are Highly linear and, rather than have one Complex chip do everything even to controling the robots, you have lots of smaller chips being slaved, so that the smaller chips cannot do naferious things (after being hacked) and produce usual products using usual subroutines. Part of the Modification process and the 6 month cycle to get a Fab plant to produce new Lithography sizes, is to reprogram all the chips (useing internal writing to the RAM of PIC's etc) that are required for the printing of the new sizes, and changing the gear systems to produce smaller and more precise movements when cutting layers and placing VIAs.

It is all time consuming, but adds a layer of security that makes hacking etc near impossible (unless you know the hardware intimately), and the process very refined and controlled making use of Mechatronics to the most advanced level, without giving one person the keys to the kingdom remotely.

This method would be more efficient, but if the system is connected online, expect TSMC to get attacked sooner or later.

The fact is, this could have been done before with Intel chips, they question is why?
That is total nonsense. Spectre is of virtually no concern to a company like TSMC, especially for Manufacturing Control Systems (MCS) because they are virtually never connected externally. Your second paragraph is especially lacking in any facts. No chips are reprogrammed for a different set of lithography masks or feature sizes and layers and Vias are NOT cut from silicon. It's all done by the (EUV) light exposing wafers through masks. The light strikes photoresistive material on the wafer and it is removed where there is exposure to the light. That is how all features on chips are made. All ionic doping and implantation, diffusion, etching, and deposition is done to areas of the wafer where the photoresistive material has been exposed and removed by the light.
 

ginthegit

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That is total nonsense. Spectre is of virtually no concern to a company like TSMC, especially for Manufacturing Control Systems (MCS) because they are virtually never connected externally. Your second paragraph is especially lacking in any facts. No chips are reprogrammed for a different set of lithography masks or feature sizes and layers and Vias are NOT cut from silicon. It's all done by the (EUV) light exposing wafers through masks. The light strikes photoresistive material on the wafer and it is removed where there is exposure to the light. That is how all features on chips are made. All ionic doping and implantation, diffusion, etching, and deposition is done to areas of the wafer where the photoresistive material has been exposed and removed by the light.

Fab tools cost tens or hundreds of millions of dollars and process wafers carrying hundreds of chips that could be used to build products worth tens of thousands of dollars. Each production tool uses one x86 server, or at least a virtual server. Sometimes hardware fails, so TSMC runs its workloads in such a way that one server can quickly replace the failed one. (Naturally, TSMC does not disclose which operating systems and applications it runs at its fabs.)

The above was written in the actual article. When someone is afraud to tell the OS, it is usually because they have some exposure. A little like Pedophiles, the people who attack are usually someone trusted or that those people passed on the Knowledge of the exploit.
And what you have said is complete conjecture, you are assuming you understand its logictics and it operation.

Ok brainiac, so you are trying to refer to the Optical translation of the Image onto the Mask,, do you think these stencils stay the same size, hiow do they align the lenses, the armatures , and the cutting equupment, is it all magic? Me refering to the Cutting of Vias may be giving you and wrong impression, but to over simplify the process of etching to simply, the Lithographic process involving a stencil of unknow size and lense system of unknow forcus mechanicsm or even the Slicing machinery...

What about the alignment checking systems that have to check optically that each layer is alligned, or the armatures that have to move the layers around... All Magic I guess? Terminology is terminology, but it doesnt take away from the facts. Even the process of bonding the layers is intricate and requires changes. Smaller means smaller machinery, gears etc to deal with all the other processes that you conviniently forgot! Placing Vias, you turn into something other than what it should have meant Placement of vias, because each chip is considered Wholey with all of its layers. Picking on words is a bit lame.
 

Gomez Addams

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Since you are continuing with your drivel I will repeat myself - it's total nonsense. I have worked in the semiconductor industry and in fabs for decades and you are all wet.
 

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