It looks like the rumor mill is on the “TSMC isn't at its best” tangent
Despite repeated claims to the contrary, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has been stated (again) to be having trouble coping with 28nm chip orders.That is to say, it cannot produce enough 28nm-based graphics processing units (GPUs) and system-on-chip devices.
That means that Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) can't make as many Radeon HD 7000 cards as it would like, NVIDIA is similarly limited in regards to the GeForce GTX 680 and Qualcomm has a strained flow of chips too.
The last time we covered this perceived shortage was less than a week into the ongoing month (April, 2012).
Now, Digitimes says that NVIDIA and Qualcomm are seriously considering other potential manufacturers, as their main (and only) one cannot handle demand.
We aren't sure what kind of orders Taiwan's primary foundry has been landed with, but they are said to have “surged.”
At any rate, NVIDIA, for instance, has sampled its chips to Samsung Electronics (AMD's current situation and stance was left unexplored).
What's more, Qualcomm has placed orders with United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) and Globalfoundries.
In the meantime, TSMC has been setting up the stage for an increase in production capacity, but it is unlikely that a difference will be made before 2013.
Also, besides yield problems, it is being speculated that TSMC has been trying to control availability of 28nm chips, since insufficient yield rates would affect gross margin. At any rate, a new capacity expansion should be announced this month.
Consumers oughtn’t to be too freaked out by any of this. Retailers should still have a decent supply of AMD and NVIDIA video cards. After all, even if boosting production is hard, the initial 28nm TSMC yield was more or less decent.
Alas, with both AMD and NVIDIA expected to bring out new video cards later this year (and we mean besides dual-GPU monsters), the current flow is no longer enough.