TSMC 28nm hits mass production, GTX 560 Ti refresh coming

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TSMC announced this week that it has commenced volume production of 28nm silicon and the first wafers have already been shipped to customers. TSMC's 28nm process comes in several variants: High Performance (28HP), 28nm High Performance Low Power (28HPL), 28nm Low Power (28LP), and 28nm High Performance Mobile Computing (28HPM). The first three are in volume production while the last will reach that stage by the end of 2011, though most notebook makers have a production build of 28HPM for design purposes. TSMC noted that the 28nm rollout is a bigger deal than 2008's 40nm milestone.

"The number of customer 28nm production tape outs has more than doubled as compared with that of 40nm. At 28nm, there are currently more than 80 customer product tape-outs. The TSMC 28nm process has surpassed the previous generation's production ramps and product yield at the same point in time due to closer and earlier collaboration with customers." Both AMD and Nvidia will utilize the 28nm fabrication tech in their next-generation graphics card. The former camp is expected to ship its Southern Islands products before the end of this year while the latter's Kepler GPUs should arrive shortly thereafter.

Before that happens, Nvidia reportedly plans to launch an updated 40nm GeForce GTX 560 Ti for the holidays. The new card is said to drop the GF114 GPU in favor a diluted version of the GF110, which is currently used by the GTX 570 and 580. The revamped GTX 560 Ti will pack 448 CUDA Cores, which is 64 more than now but still 32 and 64 less than its beefier siblings. Other rumored specs include 56 TMUs, a 320-bit memory interface, 1280MB of GDDR5 VRAM, and 3-way SLI support. Nvidia is expected to stuff the card somewhere between the Radeon HD 6950 2GB and the HD 6970 2GB, putting in the $300 territory.

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