Since TSMC decided some time ago to charge its partners for the whole processed wafer instead of charging only for the working chips, the manufacturing costs for its clients went up considerably. Since this was bad news for the IC designers, low yields and low volume were the last drops filling the sorrow cup. TSMC has reportedly decided to award Nvidia “priority” on the 28nm manufacturing process.
Nvidia has been talking about 450mm wafers and a different foundry partner for quite some time now, so TSMC decided to give them a “cookie” just to make sure they stick around.
Having high costs with the wafers and low yields because of a high speed and complex chip is a lot to take. Enjoying high demand for a successful product and not being able to satisfy it because of your foundry partner is frustrating.
It seems that Nvidia’s hints about looking for 450 mm wafers, having Intel as a foundry partner or even moving some of its products to some other foundry have sensitized TSMC into being “nicer.”
Qualcomm’s suggestions about looking for another partner might be shot in the same direction, but they’ve managed to get priority in the past, and now TSMC seems to believe Nvidia deserves the cookie.