Also, higher prices for consumers, when they are higher, are not due to the (huge) costs of moving to a new process node.........Will the money saved by moving to the next process node be more than the cost to move?
"Light isn't actually used -- even for chips like the old Pentium, it's too big. You might be wondering how on Earth light can have any size, but it's in reference to wavelength. Light is something called an electromagnetic wave, a constantly cycling mixture of electric and magnetic fields."
It's these kind of comments and feedback that makes the TechSpot community what it is. I admittedly glossed over important details - one to keep things quite concise and two, it provides the opportunity for a more in-depth follow up by the likes of William Gayde. However, errors should be corrected and the identifier acknowledged; if Julio feels that the piece needs an appropriate edit, I'd be happy to include (and credit) your notes.Two comments. First, EUV is nominally 13 nm, 193 nm is DUV, these stand for Extreme Ultraviolet, and Deep Ultraviolet respectively. All three dies in the Ryzen R7 3900X are made entirely with ArF 193 nm lithography, but it is very different from the initial ArF litho. Today's litho uses immersion (in water) to get a higher Numerical Aperture, a measure of focusing power. It is not clear whether Intel's 10 nm process uses some EUV exposure steps, it didn't originally. TSMC's current N7 (7 nm) process uses all DUV, their N7+ process, just now starting production, uses EUV for three exposures per wafer.
Again, very salient points. All business decisions are driven by costs vs revenue, but the costs of developing fabrication methods, and adapting chip designs for them (or vice versa) have grown, and considerably so. Such costs are only ever going to be passed down to the consumer. Of course, prices for products more often than not simply reflect the market targetted and the expectations therein - this is part of AMD's reasoning behind no longer aiming to be "the cheaper option."Also, higher prices for consumers, when they are higher, are not due to the (huge) costs of moving to a new process node. The manufacturers for every semiconductor product do a simple calculation. Will the money saved by moving to the next process node be more than the cost to move? If not, stay at the current process node. This is why skipping the 20 nm node made sense for a lot of manufacturers, even more skipped 10 nm. AMD and GF came up with a low cost to migrate 12 nm node, but even then AMD did not move all of their products from 14 nm. The math didn't justify it.
However, semiconductor manufacturers are not immune to inflation in other areas, So even though prices for the semiconductors themselves have dropped relative to inflation, other costs have not. You can still get a graphics card for $150 that is a huge improvement on the $150 card of 10 years ago. The complication that users face is that in a few years the card they buy today will be unsatisfactory given their increased expectations. Buying a more expensive card less often is a way to reduce costs.
Again, I went for simplicity - perhaps too much so. The UV boundaries are rather blurry; for example, I could have said "Far UltraViolet" which would fit the wavelength range but it's not a term one often reads alongside microchip fabrication.Yes, I see someone has already noted that 193 nm is not extreme ultraviolet - and since GlobalFoundries gave up on going far below 14nm, and it's processes at 10nm or 7nm that may, optionally, use EUV (Intel's 10nm doesn't, but an experimental 10nm process at IBM did; TSMC's current 7nm, in the Ryzen 3000 chips doesn't, but their new 7nm+ will) what they're using definitely isn't EUV.
There was lots missed out . The actual fab process is worthy of one or two separate articles altogether. I apologise if readers feel that the article doesn't give the topic sufficient justice.Also, making details smaller than the wavelength of light you use involves stuff like double patterning, which the article missed mentioning. And, of course, stuff like double patterning wouldn't even be possible if it weren't for optical proximity correction - sharpening corners on the mask so that rounded corners caused by diffraction are cancelled out.
Indeed! The industry's use of the term EUV is slightly at odds with astrophysics world's use of the term, as the latter defines between the range of 10 and 121 nm, so on that basis, 193 nm isn't EUV - one could use FUV or even UVC. I'm not sure the fab industry would be happy to use FHTSUV ("Flipping heck, that's small UV") but you never know, it might catch on!More important to be understood by the layperson is, what is it that makes EUV "extreme"? 193nm is already very short-wave UV - enough to give you a really nasty sunburn.
The UV boundaries are rather blurry; for example, I could have said "Far UltraViolet" which would fit the wavelength range but it's not a term one often reads alongside microchip fabrication.
Prices were increased because people would still pay a higher price for better performance. With Ryzen 3000 coming soon, Intel is already lowering their prices by ten to fifteen percent, to keep sales up. A small hit in profit margin is seen as worthwhile to keep market and mind-share. If AMD, or Intel, comes up with a lower priced graphics card, comparably efficient to nVidia's cards in both performance and energy use, we can expect nVidia to lower their prices at that time.Although the likes of Intel and Nvidia have come under fire from noticeably increasing prices of their chips, the article goes a fair way in explaining why a mid range video card or CPU costs a lot more than it did say 10 or 15 years ago.
Inflation is one normal reason, but the cost of the development and manufacturing of ever smaller processes has risen rapidly. Simply going from 28nm to 7nm has doubled the cost of a wafer. On immature processes for a new, tinier, ever more difficult to develop node, the yields will often be less. This also affects relevant memory fabrication, although innovations in that field have helped. Therefore costs are easily more than doubled to tape out a 7nm chip than a 28nm one.
This in the space of just 7 years. Yes, Nvidia and Intel have exploited their technology leads by raising prices. Welcome to the world of capitalism. However a large proportion of those price rises are still down to the underlying steep increase in the costs of developing and manufacturing the parts.
That's why what is often classed today as a mid range video card (RTX2060) is now $350 and not the $200 it (7600GT) generally was in say 2006.
Next stop, gamma rays focused by microscopic black holes. It might negligibly rise the prices of the newer chips.
The industry's use of the term EUV is slightly at odds with astrophysics world's use of the term, as the latter defines between the range of 10 and 121 nm, so on that basis, 193 nm isn't EUV
You think you jest.
The scientific community as a whole has yet to agree on the boundary between Violet and Ultraviolet so there are variations depending on where you look it up.