It all starts with the diminishing return of dimensional scaling. This time it is about costs. Dimensional scaling requires continual improvements in lithography capability, and is primarily driven by the rapidly escalating cost of lithography, as illustrated by the following chart:
But careful review of the bullet slide above and the bullet slide below might reveal NVIDIAâs underlying concerns.
It seems to me that the key words are âVirtual IDMâ, which are the only highlighted words of the second bullet slide but do appear also in the first one.
âWhen business ($) gets in the way, apply âFirst principleâ, the principle of one company, one virtual IDM companyâ. I was not aware of this âFirst principleâ. I thought our first principle is open competition, and individual companies are supposed to work as such and not as one company I believe we have some laws - Antitrust - against acting as one company instead of individual company.
Yet, NVIDIA does have one strong IDM competitor - Intel. Could it be that Intelâs costs are different??
I don't know but it does remind me of a previous blog I wrote: Required Change in EDA Vendorsâ Role and Reward vs. Scaling Yield. In that blog we tried to understand the implication of dimensional scaling on yield, and more specifically on the systematic yield losses which are design related. The following chart was presented then
Looking again on the cost related chart one can clearly see NVIDIA pointing to the importance of yield. But I believe they should not blame just TSMC as it would seem to me that the EDA part is just as important.
NVIDIA, TSMC and the other fabless companies and partners (EDA, etc.) should strategically consider the issues associated with dimension scaling, which seem to strongly benefit the IDMs. Such strategic evaluation should include a serious look into the better alternative to dimensional scaling - the monolithic 3D, or as we call it, scaling Up!!!