TSMC released details earlier this year on its 45nm process, revealing some of the challenges faced with the shrink. The 2008 timeframe set by ATI falls in-line with AMD's plans to move to 45nm for its processors, though Intel may reach the 45nm mark first by 2007.
At a press conference last week, ATI confirmed that the yields from the 80nm process are stable, and plans to move the rest of its graphics lineup over to 80nm in the first half of 2007.
ATI currently produces much of its product line on the 90nm process. One of the benefits of moving from 90nm to 80nm is that production costs are reduced by 10-15%, according to ATI. The reduction in cost comes from the fact that more chips can be produced at 80nm than 90nm on a single 300mm wafer.
Currently, ATI only has one 80nm GPU—the Radeon X1950 Pro. A second 80nm product in the form of the RV560 Radeon X1650XT is expected to arrive before the end of the month. ATI may see even larger benefits when moving to 45nm, as power requirements and heat generation will be reduced, leading to greater headroom for performance.
News source: AnandTech