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NVIDIA Corp.'s Relationship With TSMC Is Deepening


May. 17, 2017 – For many years, NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) has relied on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE:TSM) to manufacture the graphics chips it designs. Today, most of NVIDIA's Pascal architecture-based graphics processors -- from the GeForce GTX 1060, designed for mainstream PC gamers, all the way through its  cutting-edge Tesla P100 datacenter accelerators -- are manufactured by TSMC.

What's interesting, though, is that the company's entry-level gaming processor -- a chip known as GP107, and sold as the GeForce GTX 1050 and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti -- isn't built by TSMC. Instead, it's built by Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF) on that company's 14-nanometer LPP technology.

However, while NVIDIA is sourcing mass-market graphics chips from a rival, it appears that its relationship with Taiwan Semiconductor is deepening rather than degrading. Here are some reasons to think so.

NVIDIA's "special" 12-nanometer technology

When NVIDIA announced its new Tesla V100 accelerator -- based on a chip code-named GV100 -- it disclosed that those GV100 chips are manufactured using Taiwan Semiconductor's 12-nanometer FFN technology. NVIDIA describes that as a variant of TSMC's 12-nanometer technology (which itself is an enhancement of the company's 16-nanometer technology) customized specifically for NVIDIA's use.

This is the first time that NVIDIA has ever talked about such a customized technology publicly. 

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