Bits + chips
IC testing service providers benefit from surging demand for cryptocurrencies
Julian Ho, Taipei; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES

Surging prices of Ethereum has boosted demand for graphics cards used to mine the cryptocurrecny, which is benefiting Taiwan-based IC testing services providers, according to sources from the semiconductor industry.

Nvidia has recently launched the CMP series GPUs designed specifically for cryptocurrency mining applications and has partnered with Taiwan-based MPI and Winway Technology for the product line, the sources said.

MPI is a probe card supplier who has partnered with Nvidia for many years, while Winway entered Nvidia's supply chain in 2020 and has obtained orders for conducting tests on Nvidia GPUs via automatic test equipment (ATE) interface.

At the moment, most of Nvidia GPUs' system level tests (SLT) are being done by non-Taiwanese companies, but Taiwanese backend houses are expected to obtain some of the orders in 2021, the sources said.

Both MPI and Winway declined to comment on specific clients or orders.

IC testing service providers will also see orders for ASICs and FPGAs used in cryptocurrency mining applications, while some OSATs such as Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) and Tongfu Microelectronics already have visibility of AMD CPU orders reach the third quarter of 2021.

However, the short supply of IC substrates will continue to undermine the backend service providers' performances in 2021 especially the ABF substrate segment, which currently has a lead time of six months, the sources added.

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