Semico just released its latest wafer demand report for 2011 and the top-line conclusion isn’t wonderful but it’s not horrible either. Unit sales and wafer demand in the electronics industry will be up for the year but falling ASPs mean that revenues will decline slightly. However, that’s not what I found interesting in the report abstract. What I found most interesting was the graph of 200mm equivalent wafers shipped by process node. The graph shows where the demand is most concentrated and what IC types use each product node.
One of the surprising things is that the graph starts with process nodes “greater than one micron” (!). Yup, that stuff’s still shipping in volume. The last time I wrote about the “1 micron barrier” was in the late 1980s.
Here’s the graph image from the Semico report preview:
Do you see what I see? Last month, I wrote about a panel at the Global Technology Conference where several people stated that the 65nm node was the workhorse node for ASIC and SoC design at the moment. (See “Where is the mainstream IC process technology today? 28nm? 40nm? 65nm?”.) The Semico graph tends to confirm that assertion, once you remove the DRAM and NAND Flash wafers from the data. However, the article linked to above says “Products processed on 45nm technology continues to be the sweet spot at the foundries” so it’s obviously a moving target and the movement, as you’d expect, is to the right—towards ever more advanced process nodes.