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TSMC’s virus affecting Nvidia and AMD chip production hasn’t been as bad as expected

A ‘misoperation during the installation process for a new tool’ caused a virus to spread around chip-manufacturing behemoth TSMC

Silicon wafer

August 7, 2018  This story has been updated to include TSMC’s updated estimates on its virus-based revenue losses.

On Friday a ‘misoperation during the installation process for a new tool’ caused a virus to spread around chip-manufacturing behemoth TSMC’s computer network and has caused several thousand wafers to be scrapped.

The important 12-inch fabs are the heart of TSMC’s contract manufacturing operations and Fab 12 and Fab 15 were shut down for as long as ten hours. These are the fabs where the company is manufacturing using the leading-edge 7nm process for the likes of AMD, Nvidia, and Apple. It has said that any shipment delays resulting from the virus will be made up in the fourth quarter of the year, though they could still have some tangible impact on both confidence and TSMC’s bottom line, though not as much as it first thought.

TSMC has announced the affected tools are all now back online after the infection started late on Friday, August 3. The company has quickly isolated the issue and created a solution which has been spread around the infected facilities.

Digitimes is now reporting the announcement by TSMC that the virus infection is estimated to impact its third quarter revenue to the tune of 2%, where previously it had suggested the company would see its revenues hit by another percent. But, if we take its own guidance revenue figures for Q3 as $8.45bn, then 2% of that still comes to almost $170m for a weekend of infected wafers and halted production. Ouch.

Nvidia GTX 1180

With any shipment delays expected to be fixed in Q4 this is unlikely to actually impact us gamers in any meaningful way – the 7nm AMD Vega and Zen 2 chips are either going into the professional market or as engineering samples respectively, and Nvidia’s 7nm parts are unlikely to be the gaming GPUs we’re holding out for to appear in August/September time this year.

The Nvidia GTX 1180 is expected to be built using the company’s 12nm process, though it is still possible that 12nm production was also affected by the virus. That said, we’re still hopeful a weekend’s worth of delayed manufacturing isn’t going to make Nvidia delay the launch any further.

Or add any more zeros onto the already expected high price tag.