Insights From Leading Edge



IFTLE 140 Important Apple Rumors; Xilinx not Deserting 2.5D; Book to Bill Improving

I’m pushing back reports from the IMAPS Device Packaging Conference a week because the rumors below are timely and, if true, very important

More Apple Rumors

In IFTLE 139 [see IFTLE 139, “ More on Apple A7 processor Production Rumors â??¦”] I reported on a  Digitimes report that TSMC is expected to tape out Apple’s A7 processor on a 20nm process in March and then "..move the chip into risk production in May-June, which will pave the way for commercial shipments in the first quarter of 2014â??¦ TSMC will utilize 14-fab to manufacture the A7 chips for Apple" and that  "institutional investors" were reporting that  "Samsung is likely to receive 50% of the A7 processor orders, TSMC 40%, and Intel 10%."

What we didn’t discuss was whether TSMC would be filling the order as an 2.5D interposer based module. Over a year ago [ see IFTLE 88 Apple TSV Interposerrumorsâ??¦] we reported rumors that the A6 was being taped out as an interposer based module. Obviously that didn’t happen 

In response to IFTLE 139 highly placed readers in Taiwan have reported that "A7 will continue to use PoP and will not adopt CoWoS or any other TSV based technology" They report that "slowing down of 2.5D is due to lack of availability of DRAM stack and anticipation of DDR4." Hmmm…

IFTLE has been saying for a long time that MEMORY had to be there first or the rest of these expected application could not move forward.  

IF this report is true, when taken in combination of the comments by ST Ericssons Kimmich [see IFTLE 134, “SEMI 3DEuropean Summit – Is the Wide IO Driver Dead ?”] on the push back for wide IO by DDR4, this is surely a strong 1,2 punch to the gut for 2.5/3D commercialization.

Although Samsung, Hynix, Micron and Elpida have been working on this for a longtime, it sounds like maybe we are still not there.

I’m hoping this is pure BS [like the bogus story of Samsung paying their Apple fines in nickels (still smarting from that one)], but this is from people in the know and I felt you should at least be aware of what’s being said behind closed doors. Hopefully we can laugh this off in a few weeks or months when it is proven to be untrue.

Anyone Need CoWoS ?


Other reports from Taiwan indicate that TSMC has done a complete 360 from a few years ago and is now pushing CoWoS and telling customers that they need to adopt NOW if they want to get future priority.

â??¦but it still comes down to - Is the memory ready (meaning technology and cost) ??

Altera and Xilinx returning to PoP

In IFTLE 139, we also shared the Digitimes report that Xilinx and Altera would be shedding 2.5D technology and returning to PoP. My contacts at Xilinx and Altera both denied the statement, and maybe they were telling the truth. Again, well situated personnel in Taiwan report that Xilinx will continue to use silicon 2.5D but that Altera is looking very closely at the use of organic interposers as a lower cost solution.

Semi Book to Bill

Semi just reported a book to bill of 1.10 for Feb 2013, which is good news . The three-month average of worldwide billings in February 2013 was $975.3 million. While this number is  26.3 percent lower than the February 2012 billings level of $1.32 billion, it indicates that we are coming out of the downturn that we were in last fall.

For all the latest on 3DIC and advanced packaging, stay linked to IFTLE.


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