TSMC To Begin 10nm Volume Production in 2016 – 7nm Will Be Based On 10nm FinFET Process
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, more fondly known as TSMC, is the world's biggest contract manufacturer of chips and they have recently stated that their 10nm volume production is still very much on track. This means that the the ramp to volume production will take place next year in 2016. To those wondering whether this means that Intel has been overtaken since their particular brand of 10nm wont arrive until 2017; I would suggest reading the piece in its entirety.
TSMC 10nm to ramp volume production in 2016 - 7nm will have 10nm backbone
The company had the following to say about the 10 nanometer fabrication process (via KitGuru):
“The recent progress of our 10 nanometer technology development is very encouraging and on track with our plan.....Technology risk start qualification is targeted at the end of this year, followed by many customer’s product qualifications. Our volume production is planned to start from the end of 2016.” CEO, TSMC
If production begins in 2H 2016 as planned then the first products should hit the shelves by 2017. TSMC's 10nm FinFET (CLN10FF) will have 110 – 120 per cent higher transistor density compared to its 16nm FinFET+ (CLN16FF+) process tech, 15 per cent higher frequency potential at the same power and 35 per cent lower power consumption at the same frequency and complexity (via KitGuru). Something worth noting is the fact that the characteristics of the node have not been finalized although one can make a pretty good guess as to its physical traits.
TSMC's 16nmFF is actually just 20nm with FinFETs so 10nmFF should be on par with Intel's 14nm node. Ofcourse as I have stated many times before the market won’t care about the quality of the chips. They will go oh hey, Intel got beaten to 10nm. They won't really look at the Gate pitch & Fin Pitch, and if Intel seems to have lost its technological lead (however inaccurate that might be) the company could see its value fall.
TSMC has also released plans to ramp 7nm somewhere in 2018 with "10nm elements", so we already know that TSMC's 7nm should be based on the 10nm node in general. Intel, the world's only company that actually churns out true nodes in every aspect with more or less perfect scaling, has not released concrete plans for 7nm. Infact it is even contemplating material changes, although EUV will be a must since it can easily fabricate chips around the 7nm mark without use of double patterning.