Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world's largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry, recently confirmed it has run into new issues with their 40nm process technology that have sent yield rates down to 40%. Major customers for TSMC's 40nm processes include AMD, which just released its Radeon HD 5000 series, and Nvidia, who is expected to launch the GT300 series in December.
On first thought the conspiracy theorist in me found this suspiciously untimely for AMD, which for the first time in a long while had a great opportunity to capitalize on its early-to-market status. Their latest 40nm-based cards are not only the first to support DirectX 11, with Nvidia's answer arriving a few months later, but they have also been getting high marks for their performance and feature set in reviews around the web.
Then again TSMC's recent issues will reportedly impact shipping schedules for both AMD and Nvidia – not to mention the manufacturer's financial performance. Company chairman and CEO Morris Chang pledged to get the problem fixed during the current quarter. The company had previously improved yield rates for its 40nm processes to around 60% from as low as 20-30% in the second quarter of 2009.