Manufacturer TSMC has had the job of making chips for fabless companies, like nVidia and AMD, for some time, but really is racking up the companies it will be fabricating for now, with the addition of chips for Sun. Much like the Power chips from IBM, the new Sun chips will be showing innovation at a level not yet seen with larger companies like AMD and Intel. These will feature 16 cores, well ahead of the six and eight cores of the big guns. Of course, the Sun chips compete in a different arena, being made for the server market, much like the Intel Itanium models.
Known better for making GPUs for the likes of Nvidia and AMD/ATI, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company aka TSMC will kick off some serious CPU manufacturing next year as it will be supplying Sun Microsystems servers with Rainbow Falls processors.
Designed by Sun, the Rainbow Falls chips will be made using 40nm process technology and feature 16 cores, 128 threads and no L3 cache, at least not in its first iteration. The upcoming CPUs will target web servers and are expected to bring in quite a bit of cash into TSMC’s coffers.
TSMC will now need to be very careful that all the deadlines are hit, as one miss for a large company can mean complete failure, similar to how VIA almost collapsed completely after the failure of its Pentium III – compatible CPU.
Because the first chips will be at 40nm, most likely because of the fact that nVidia and ATi are producing GPUs at that size, they will not be as energy efficient as the newest designs from Intel, but the dollars gained form all the processors will certainly help fund a new fabrication plant for the next shrink.
the really big decisions…