back to article China's biggest chipmaker to build colossal chip factory

China's largest chipmaker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), has announced it will spend $8.87 billion on a new fabrication facility that will become China's largest such facility used for products other than memory. As outlined in a regulatory filing [PDF], the factory will offer "a production line …

  1. MrBanana Silver badge

    Colossal chip factory

    So how large are these "colossal chips" - do we have an approved unit of measure? Something based around potatoes I would suggest. Are they more than 5 King Edwards in size?

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Colossal chip factory

      Maria Pipers make better chips.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Colossal chip factory

        It's Mary Pipers, to go with the carrot crush!

        RIP Caroline Aherne

    2. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Colossal chip factory

      So how large are these "colossal chips" - do we have an approved unit of measure?

      Size: According to the article -- 12 inch equivalent (whatever that means).

      Units: How about "Pizza Slices" or "Piz" for short? I reckon 12 inch equivalent might be about 6 Piz -- or not.

  2. Fazal Majid

    Fabs with that feature size are good for automobile components, low-end microcontrollers and imaging chips that China’s surveillance society is a big consumer of.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Very true, but don't forget the rash of facial recognition that is currently sweeping the USA.

    2. Bartholomew Bronze badge

      The 28 nm process was used in 2013 for the CPU in the XBox One (1.75 GHz AMD 8-core APU) with ~5,000,000,000 MOS transistors on 363 square mm of silicon at GlobalFoundries. And also in 2013 for the Apple A7 (1.3GHz dual core ARMv8-A) with 1,000,000,000 MOS transistors on 102 square mm of silicon at GlobalFoundries.

      I do not know if I would call the above low-end microcontrollers. You can and probably would make low-end microcontrollers with a 28 nm process today, but if you are willing to accept a lower yield you can also produce higher spec chips. The above are not state of the art, but they are not total junk either.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      And the car industry is currently feeling the pinch of broken supply chains, currently Malaysia.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fantastic news...

    We def need more TPM ICs, for the windoze 11, esp those from China :-}

    1. Little Mouse Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Fantastic news...

      Apparently, they are needed for "quotidian devices".

      Nope - me neither.

    2. Bartholomew Bronze badge

      Re: Fantastic news...

      TPM's on paper could have their primary seeds generated on the very first power on (but if the device looses power because the user decides this is taking too long and power cycles like you know they will, it would typically be bin time), but it saves manufacturing time (¥¥¥/€€€/£££/$$$) if the primary seeds are “squirt” it into the TPM in a vendor-specific process, which is absolutely allowed by the Trusted Computing Group and done by basically everyone who makes TPM's. These keys can typically NEVER be changed (unless the vendors allow it, if you find a vendor who does allow changing all the primary seeds, let me know). Which factory, in what country, do you trust are not keeping a copy of all EPS's (endorsement primary seed) in every device they ship ?

  4. steelpillow Silver badge
    WTF?

    Um...

    12-inch may not be a good call. The main shortage is in more mundane bread-and-butter chips (ever eaten a chip buttie on a cold winter's afternoon? Awesome!), and these are cheaper when churned out on 8-inch Frisbees. Piling 14 nm toys high and selling 'em relatively cheap, in a bid to saturate the market, is pitting them against the real 2-7 nm hotrods in a market which is less cost-conscious and expecting more modest growth anyway. It may prove to be a less than stellar idea.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Um...

      You can use 12 inch wafers to produce those "bread and butter" chips too, you know - and get more than twice as many of them per wafer.

      They are talking about 28nm and above, which is basically decade plus old technology when the fab comes online.

      1. steelpillow Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Um...

        @DS999 I think you missed the bit where I noted that "these are cheaper when churned out on 8-inch Frisbees". The principal reason being that the 12" ones have to be thicker and so need a lot more etching/cleanup to thin them down for slicing and packaging.

  5. Magani
    Coat

    "China's biggest chipmaker to build colossal chip factory"

    Will there also be an accompanying colossal fish factory to go with it?

  6. Francis King
    FAIL

    "needed to run bleeding-edge servers and accelerators."

    The cutting edge (the front edge of the blade) is the advanced stuff.

    The bleeding edge (the back edge of the blade) is the obsolete stuff.

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