Nvidia has three 40nm chips coming this year

Written by Tim Smalley

May 11, 2009 | 12:30

Tags: #40nm #gpus #manufacturing #production #products

Companies: #nvidia #three #tsmc

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang confirmed on during the company's Q1 2010 conference call that Nvidia is aggressively ramping production on three new GPUs based on TSMC's 40nm manufacturing node.

"We are ramping 40nm probably harder than anybody and so we have three products in line now in 40nm and more coming shortly," said Huang during the question and answer session following the earnings call.

"We have the vast majority of their line cranking right now with new products. We are monitoring yields and they are improving nicely week-to-week-to-week and so at this point there's not really much to report," he added.

Huang said he expects around 25 to 30 percent of all Nvidia's shipping GPUs to be based on the new 40nm process by the end of the year, with the rest being 55nm based as the company's 65nm inventory is almost cleared. This suggests that at least one of these products will be relatively high-volume and it's expected that the company's next flagship chip, GT300, will also be based on the new node.

It surprisingly doesn't look like it's going to be a new version of Ion though, which is also expected later this year, as Huang pointed out that "[Ion] is still based on 55nm and Ion is going to be running pretty hard. I think you heard in [Nvidia CFO] David White's comments earlier that our Intel chipset product line is our fastest growing business and so my sense is that it's going to continue to be successful and that is still on 55nm."

With that said though, given the volumes Huang is quoting, we wouldn't be surprised if the new version of Ion was based on 40nm and will arrive later this year. We say this because the general consensus is that one of Nvidia's first 40nm products will be a notebook part – the GeForce 9400M, which is the same chip that is used in the Ion platform, has had some pretty good market penetration thus far.

Here's hoping that all three chips are based on a new architecture and aren't simply re-hashed versions of technology that has been available for over 18 months now.

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