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Moore's Law Will Survive Says TSMC

Future chips will be more than just number crunchers

TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) believes that Moore's law will hold true in for the future, but even though it's starting to become an economic feasibility for many chip designers. It believes that chips will not only keep getting more powerful, but that they will also gain new abilities and functionality such as logic transistors, new kinds of sensors and more to help supplement their abilities, much like modern graphics cards or APUs do to improve their performance.

“If anybody pushes Moore's Law to extremes, TSMC will be there too, but that is not all we do. We also have specialized technologies such as embedded flash, high-voltage, power transistors, MEMS and image sensors – a spectrum of technologies. And as we move monolithic CMOS on to more advanced nodes, all these other technologies cannot be moved along with it – that's where our interposers and 3D technologies will enable system integration that allows them all to be used together in what we call a system super-chip packages,” said Jack Sun, chief technology officer and vice president of R&D at TSMC, in an interview with EETimes web-site.

Each generation of hardware tends to be each 18-24 months as semiconductor manufacturers move to a new process and that's not really something that is always viable these days given the increasing cost of constructing the fabrication plants for the new chips. Intel may keep pushing and building new fabs. but TSMC believes there could be more to it than just shrinking the die size.

Intel are huge and can afford to invest in new plants on a regular basis, but this isn't true for every company and in some cases it could be hard to keep up, at least in terms of economics and it may be the sign of a time when we slow the pace or extend the lifetime of each hardware cycle.

TSMC believes that its interposers and 3D stacking will not only push the boundaries in terms of performance, but that it will enable new breed of super chips with functionality beyond what is possible today.

"We have three basic focuses: the first is to continue to push monolithically in CMOS to get the most energy efficient transistors -- providing the largest number of transistors running at the lowest power. We consider CMOS to be like the brain of a system. Secondly we provide specialty technologies that are like your eyes and ears and that are analog and mixed signal. Then thirdly, we provide 3-D technologies with TSVs [through silicon vias], interposers and other wafer-level package capabilities, which allows us to integrate the most advanced logic chips with our specialty technologies. Of course, some customers just want SoCs – and that is fine – but others will want to take advantage of our ability to use 3-D integration to make the whole system smaller using system-scaling and system integration – what we call system super-chips," said Mr Sun.