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Power Outage Prompts TSMC to Halt Production of Mature Process Nodes

TSMC Shutterstock image
(Image credit: ToyW / Shutterstock.com)

TSMC was forced to halt at least some of the production at Fab-14A P7 due to a power outage at the Southern Taiwan Science Park on Wednesday. DigiTimes reported that the outage was believed to have affected up to 40,000 wafers—but luckily for enthusiasts those wafers were produced using mature process nodes.

Reuters reported Wednesday that the power outage started when an “underground power line was accidentally severed during construction work in the late morning.” TSMC was able to mitigate the outage’s impact by relying on backup generators, according to the report, and power was restored by 7pm on Wednesday evening.

Fab 14A is primarily devoted to the 40, 45, 65, and 90nm process technologies. Those mature process nodes are mostly used by the automotive industry; modern consumer electronics use far smaller nodes. The power outage would have had a greater effect on consumers if it affected TSMC’s output of 5, 7, or 10nm chips.

The loss of these wafers could still cost TSMC between $28 million and $35 million, according to DigiTimes, but those losses would likely be covered by insurance. The company will be fine. Its automotive customers might feel the sting, though, especially since they’re already suffering from a shortage of the chips they rely on.

TSMC was already being pressured to increase chip production for the automotive industry. Reuters reported in January that German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Wang Mei-hua, Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs, that the chip shortage was hindering Germany’s efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

DigiTimes said that TSMC is still assessing the power outage’s impact. Which is probably why, at time of writing, the company hadn’t released a statement on the matter. It will take some time for the company to determine how many wafers were affected by the outage and how many of them might be salvageable.

  • InvalidError
    Enthusiasts do need to worry about mature nodes: that's what a lot of support components like platform micro-controllers are still being made on. You can't make a GPU or motherboard without system monitoring, fan control, PWM controllers, audio, LAN and a bunch of other chips that don't require bleeding-edge process. Same goes for keyboards, mice, USB hubs, monitors and countless other peripherals.
    Reply
  • plateLunch
    Yeah. Hey. No blowing us off. My new gaming PC build for this year and my paycheck is dependent on my shipping product using a 2010 era microcontroller.
    Reply
  • usiname
    InvalidError said:
    Enthusiasts do need to worry about mature nodes: that's what a lot of support components like platform micro-controllers are still being made on. You can't make a GPU or motherboard without system monitoring, fan control, PWM controllers, audio, LAN and a bunch of other chips that don't require bleeding-edge process. Same goes for keyboards, mice, USB hubs, monitors and countless other peripherals.
    I don't see motherboards shortage so we are fine
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    usiname said:
    I don't see motherboards shortage so we are fine
    While there may not be a major shortage, new releases are about $80 more expensive on average than they were two years ago except for ASRock who is way below everybody else.
    Reply
  • usiname
    InvalidError said:
    While there may not be a major shortage, new releases are about $80 more expensive on average than they were two years ago except for ASRock who is way below everybody else.
    This is not shortage, this is greed
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    usiname said:
    This is not shortage, this is greed
    You can only be greedy when the supply is at least somewhat constrained, otherwise you end up with unsold stock as a liability.
    Reply
  • usiname
    InvalidError said:
    You can only be greedy when the supply is at least somewhat constrained, otherwise you end up with unsold stock as a liability.
    There are everywhere mobos in range 70-1000USD, everything in stock, where is your shortage? If there were any shortage or problem with manifacturing, you wouldnt see $70 mobos, stupid wi fi and other useless stuffs are not worth $300, this is only greed.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    usiname said:
    There are everywhere mobos in range 70-1000USD, everything in stock, where is your shortage?
    AMD hasn't launched a new chipset in nearly a year. Most people who wanted an A520/B550/X570 motherboard already got one, so availability and pricing of old stock has more to do with not letting inventory rot in warehouses than current chip shortages.

    Intel's 500-series boards would be more representative of the current state of things and right now, I cannot get any of those locally.
    Reply