| Several sources anonymously shared their suggestions for securing the best foundry fit for reliable supply and support in both boom and bust times for fab capacity: |
Beware the crunch.
Foundries are "heavy with capacity" now, and more 300-mm fabs will come online this year, but chip suppliers that have large wafer volumes and operate their own fabs shouldn't expect foundries' help in a pinch. "When demand soars, overflow capacity" won't be there."
Invest in DFM.
"Masks at the 90-nanometer node are expensive, and investments in verification and design-for-manufacturing software are worth the expense."
Be clear about pricing.
"We talked to one aggregator several times but never could quite figure out how much it was going to cost us to work with them."
Monitor the internal needs of the IDM or foundry.
"I still remember using a Japanese foundry that ran DRAMs. In 1995, I had to get on my knees to beg for my wafers."
Check Web support.
"The top foundries provide so much information on the Web. That is an area where Chinese foundries have a ways to go."
Hire an expert.
"We found a guy who had worked at Motorola for many years. He knew enough about foundries and packaging that we avoided a lot of problems."
Stay creative and shop around.
"Challenge your designers! Ask them if they can target their next design to a Chinese foundry and if not, why not? Or [IDMs with foundry businesses like] Samsung or Fujitsu might offer something where you can save money."