NXP Semiconductors NV expects its first automotive-grade 5-nanometer chip built by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) to become available for automakers within one-and-a-half years at the earliest, following demand for better computing performance and energy efficiency for connected vehicles, a company executive said yesterday.
That would mean a significant upgrade from the 16-nanometer technology NXP adopted in its existing series of microprocessors. NXP chief technology executive Lars Reger made the remarks during a media briefing yesterday in Taipei. The latest updates came after NXP unveiled its plan to source 5-nanometer capacity from TSMC in 2021.
This is Reger’s first trip to Taiwan since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago. He is slated to pay a visit to TSMC’s Fab 18 in Tainan, the hub for its 5-nanometer chips.
Photo courtesy of NXP Semiconductors NV
“We already gave silicon to our customers as a development platform. The engineering is running,” Reger said. “The new NXP S32 next-generation flagship chip will be available to OEMs in one-and-half to two years and will also be on the mass market.”
With 4 billion transistors on the new 5-nanometer processor, the S32 next-generation flagship chip would deliver optimized network connectivity in real time and enhanced computing and switching performance, Reger said. In the initial stage, no artificial-intelligence (AI) accelerator would be added on, he said.
When asked if NXP would adopt 3-nanometer technology, which has a smaller width between transistors than 5-nanometer chips, Reger said it would largely depend on the benefits brought about. If more AI applications are added on, it would trend smaller, he said.
Beyond Taiwan, NXP is also joining TSMC, Robert Bosch GmbH and Infineon Technologies AG in building a 10 billion euro fab in Dresden, Germany for making car chips in their latest efforts to boost semiconductor supply chain resilience as requested by customers.
TSMC will hold a majority stake of 70 percent in the joint venture. Construction of the fab is to commence in 2027 at the earliest.
NXP customers faced challenges to have sufficient chip supply over the past 3 years due to COVID-19-related restrictions, and have requested to source chips from multiple manufacturing sites or suppliers such as Samsung Electronics Co and GlobalFoundries Inc in different regions, Reger said yesterday.
The strategy of capacity diversification is also extended to chip packaging and development centers, Reger said. This is the “silicon shield” they want to build, he said.
TSMC is building two factories in the US to make advanced 4-nanometer chips used in smartphones and servers for Apple Inc, Nvidia Corp and AMD. The chipmaker also plans to build two factories in Japan to produce chips for Japanese automakers.
STEADY: Prices are to rebound following inventory rebuilding demand, TrendForce said, with Samsung Electronics Co further trimming capacity as it slashes DDR4 lines The contract prices of DRAM chips are to rise by as much as 18 percent sequentially this quarter — the first price upticks in about eight quarters — driven mainly by inventory rebuilding demand for DRAM chips used in mobile devices and PCs, TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) projected yesterday. The price rebound is led by a quarterly increase of mobile DRAM chips, which are to climb between 13 percent and 18 percent quarter-on-quarter this quarter, which has not been seen since the fourth quarter of 2021, the Taipei-based market researcher predicted. Likewise, the price of mainstream PC DDR4 DRAM is expected to bounce
CHINA NOT A FRIEND: ‘Newsflash: Democracy is good for your businesses,’ US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said as she gave a speech at a national defense forum US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Saturday urged lawmakers, Silicon Valley and US allies to stop China from getting semiconductors and cutting-edge technologies key to national security. Speaking at an annual national defense forum in Simi Valley, California, Raimondo called Beijing “the biggest threat we’ve ever had” and stressed that “China is not our friend.” The world’s top two economies are locked in a fierce commercial and geopolitical rivalry, in which her department plays a leading role. In October, Raimondo unveiled a series of restrictions on the export of advanced chips to China, including those used in the development of artificial intelligence
SOLID FOUNDATION: Given its decades of expertise in megatronics, manufacturing and robotics, Japan has the wherewithal to create its own AI, Jensen Huang said Nvidia Corp plans to help build an artificial intelligence (AI) tech-related ecosystem in Japan to meet demand in a country eager to gain an edge in this emerging technology. The US company will seek to partner with Japanese research organizations, companies and start-ups to build factories for AI, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) said yesterday during opening remarks in a meeting with Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura. The company is to set up an AI research laboratory, and invest in local start-ups and educate the public on using AI, Huang said. Huang earlier this week met with Japanese Prime
A Hong Kong court postponed a court hearing on troubled Chinese property developer Evergrande Group’s (恆大集團) winding-up petition scheduled for yesterday until Jan. 29. Evergrande is trying to win support from its creditors for a plan to restructure more than US$300 billion in debt to stave off liquidation. The company’s lawyer told the court it was requesting an adjournment to “refine” its new debt restructuring plan. The Hong Kong High Court has postponed the hearing over Evergrande’s potential liquidation several times. Judge Linda Chan (陳靜芬) had said in October that yesterday’s hearing would be the last before a decision is handed down. Chan