According to Fudzilla’s sources, ATI’s next generation GPUs will continue to be manufactured at TSMC’s 40nm process. With TSMC canceling the 32nm process, the next shrink is expected to be the full-node 28nm process. The report claims that TSMC’s 28nm process has now slipped to 2011. Furthermore, Globalfoundries’ 28nm bulk process is scheduled for 2011, as well, leaving ATI with no choice but to build their next generation GPUs on the same 40nm process HD 5000 series products are fabricated on.

Earlier rumours claimed TSMC were on track to ramp 28nm production by Q4 2010. If the delays to 2011 are indeed true, we can expect 40nm to take us all the way to 2011. Altenatively, ATI might choose to delay their next generation GPU to fit with the 28nm schedule – be it Globalfoundries or TSMC. Given Nvidia’s delays, and assuming the GTX 400 series does not significantly outperform ATI’s HD 5800/5900 series (and their refreshes), this would be the right moment for ATI to hang on.

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According to Fudzilla’s sources, ATI’s next generation GPUs will
continue to be manufactured at TSMC’s 40nm process. With TSMC canceling
the 32nm process, the next shrink is expected to be the full-node 28nm
process. The report claims that TSMC’s 28nm process has now slipped to
2011. Furthermore, Globalfoundries’ 28nm bulk process is scheduled for
2011, as well, leaving ATI with no choice but to build their next
generation GPUs on the same 40nm process HD 5000 series products are
fabricated on.

Earlier rumours claimed TSMC were on track to ramp 28nm production by Q4
2010. If the delays to 2011 are indeed true, we can expect 40nm to take
us all the way to 2011. Altenatively, ATI might choose to delay their
next generation GPU to fit with the 28nm schedule – be it
Globalfoundries or TSMC. Given Nvidia’s delays, and assuming the GTX 400
series does not significantly outperform ATI’s HD 5800/5900 series (and
their refreshes), this would be the right moment for ATI to hang on.

Since Nvidia are stuck on the 40nm process as well, with a GPU that all facts and rumours indicate desperately needing a die shrink, this might be the opportune moment for ATI to adjust their next generation with the revised 28nm schedule. On the other hand, jumping into a new full node process with a major architecture change has always been a massive risk. (E.g. GF100) ATI might just release the next generation products early in H2 2010 on a process they are now familiar with, with a major die shrink following in 2011.

Before TSMC’s 32nm cancellation, ATI’s next generation, rumoured to be N. Islands in some circles, the rather amusing Hecatoncheires in others, was expected to be manufactured at the 32nm half node process. Whatever the name be, the next generation is expected to be the first major architectural change since R600 (R700 and Cypress were evolutionary).

One might suggest the feasibility of moving to Globalfoundries’ 32nm process, though Globalfoundries have stated in the past that they would start GPU production only in 2011.

Reference: Fudzilla