Hsinchu, Taiwan, March 14, 2001 -- Altera Corporation (Nasdaq: ALTR), a leading programmable logic device (PLD) supplier, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) today announced the successful development of the APEX? EP20K400E, on a 0.18μm, 300-mm (12-inch) process. Both companies expect to rapidly exceed 200-mm wafer yields using this new technology. Altera will lead the PLD industry in the use of 300-mm wafers with a ramp to volume production later this year. Altera is targeting its 300mm-based designs to TSMC’s 0.18μm, to be followed by designs targeting TSMC’s advanced 0.15μm and 0.13μm processes.
“Altera’s use of TSMC’s 300-mm manufacturing capability is another example of our aggressive commitment to adopting leading edge technology,” said Tim Colleran, Altera vice president of product marketing. “Our philosophy to continuously seek ways to improve manufacturing efficiency and product cost drives positive results for our customers as well as Altera.”
Benefits of 300-mm Wafers
Altera realizes numerous benefits by moving to 300-mm wafers. Larger wafer size allows for a significant increase in the number of dice per wafer. For example, a 300-mm wafer has 125 percent more area than a 200-mm wafer. Also, the larger wafer size mitigates the loss of dice that are partially cut off on the edge of the wafer. This problem is exacerbated for large dice due to the area wasted increasing linearly with die size. As a result, the net gain between 200-mm wafer and 300-mm wafer could be as high as 160 percent for a very large die, compared to 125 percent for a small die. In addition, as TSMC’s 300-mm manufacturing process is perfected and materials costs come down, Altera expects to achieve higher yields as well as a significant cost savings per wafer.
Altera’s devices are an excellent lead vehicle for TSMC. Because PLDs are scalable from small to very large dice, TSMC can verify the manufacturability of die on the new larger wafers quickly. And while the change in wafer size requires substantial investments in a new generation of semiconductor equipment, it significantly reduces defect density when compared to existing 200-mm equipment.
“The move to 300-mm manufacturing technology is one of the boldest steps the IC industry has taken,” said Dr. Ed Ross, president of TSMC North America. “In terms of bringing the newest technology on-line successfully, we have found our partnership with Altera to be invaluable.”
This long-standing relationship between Altera and TSMC has resulted in a rapid movement towards more advanced, efficient technologies and a clear path towards future innovation. “Our close partnership with TSMC enables us to be one of the first semiconductor companies to adopt 300-mm wafer technology. We’re looking forward to leveraging the dramatic manufacturing improvements it will bring,” concurred Francois Gregoire, Altera vice president of technology.
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are generally preceded by words that imply a future state such as “expect” or that imply that a particular future event or events will occur such as “will” or “could”. Investors are cautioned that all forward-looking statements in this release involve risks and uncertainty, including without limitation the risks that actual wafer yields may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements or may not be sufficient to support projected pricing, and that volume production will not be achieved as planned. Please refer to the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings, copies of which are available from the company without charge.