One Year Later, GlobalFoundries Rapidly Ramping New Technologies

One Year Later, GlobalFoundries Rapidly Ramping New Technologies

It's been just over a year since AMD completed its spinoff of GlobalFoundries in an attempt to radically change its own financial trajectory. The gamble appears to have paid off for both companies; we recently sat down with GlobalFoundries executives to talk about the company's first year and plans for the future. GlobalFoundries current roadmap is as follows:



The company will ship 40nm LP (low power) silicon starting this quarter and 32nm SOI in the back half of 2010. The left edge of each box denotes 'risk production,' aka early commercial production. One of the reasons we originally contacted GF was to clear up some confusion around the 32nm/28nm process nodes. When GlobalFoundries first launched, the company claimed to be working on 32nm bulk silicon technology which has since vanished off the roadmap. We were also curious how the company realistically expected to ship 28nm bulk silicon just one quarter after it began volume production of 32nm SOI products.


GlobalFoundries is targeting a wide range of devices in both consumer and commercial space.

It turns out that when GlobalFoundries started meeting with potential customers, a significant number of them were more interested in 40nm than 32nm. GF company reps weren't able to officially comment on why so many companies were interested in 40nm, but we'd guess the reason starts with "T" and ends in "SMC yield problems." AMD and NVIDIA have been the two high-profile companies most hurt by the Taiwanese foundry's inability to ship functional 40nm products in sufficient volumes, but they're far from the only ones affected. TSMC claimed last month that they've resolved their 40nm problems. Of course, they've said that before. This time, we're dubious.


TSMC's roadmap for comparison. TSMC's decision to build transistors using SiOn at 28nm has been openly challenged by IBM.

The reason TSMC's yield problems became everyone's yield problems is because the company has had no competition at the 45/40nm process nodes. Once GF's 40nm process is ramped the world+dog will have access to multiple leading-edge fabrication facilities. GF plans to ramp its 28nm production just behind TSMC and it's already working on 22nm technology.

Peeking In on AMD:

GlobalFoundries will still be handling AMD's CPU manufacturing going forward, but the company wasn't able to tell us much in the way of new information. The company's 32nm production ramp is rumored to be going quite well; 32nm processors should ship in volume by the end of 2010. We've discussed Llano before—as AMD's first Fusion part, it bears the weight of justifying the original purchase of ATI and AMD's commitment to "Fusion" products to begin with.

We've mentioned that Llano will combine a CPU and GPU in a single die (Intel's approach with Westmere is to use two discrete packages on one substrate). One point we haven't discussed, however, is that this means Llano's GPU—presumably an integrated Radeon derivative—will be built on 32nm SOI. We don't know if AMD will shift from 40nm to 32nm at TSMC or jump straight from 40nm to 28nm, but Llano's GPU is probably unique. With Bulldozer and Bobcat chips launching on 32nm later in 2011, we're betting the GPU half of Llano ends up being a core AMD can easily bolt on to multiple processors without needing to reinvent the wheel.

Bulldozer and Bobcat, like Llano, will be built on 32nm SOI through 2011. GlobalFoundries is not planning a 28nm SOI process; AMD may or may not choose to use SOI at the 22nm node.

Conclusion:

One year after spinoff, GlobalFoundries has an array of customers, an aggressive roadmap, new foundries under construction in New York State, and the additional foundry assets it gained from its purchase of Chartered. Thus far, the AMD split appears to have been genuinely beneficial to both companies and the semiconductor industry as a whole should benefit from increased competition.

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Bailey1985 WTF?

Don't get me wrong I would Love to see the girls join, but this is not the Fall fashion advertisement forum.

Anyways, as far as the GlobalFoundries issue. Yes I hope it is going to be good for the competition in the semiconductor market! I would have loved to see those new 8 core's come out in a low power model.

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Anima,

I'm sure we'll see them. AMD has a 1.8GHz 40W processor and a 2GHz 55W processor. The thing about AMD's TDP measurements, however, is that they don't actually tell you how much power a chip might draw in the real world. Instead, they report theoretical maximum power consumption.

If a 2GHz chip is 55W and a 1.8GHz chip is 40W, it typically means the 2GHz version is running cool, but not *quite* cool enough for a 40W designation. Based on these numbers, I'm betting AMD will launch a low-power Magny-Cours eight-core processor at 55W and 1.6-1.8GHz. They could even do an LP 12-core, though I expect 55W would be a stretch.

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Joel H:

Anima,

I'm sure we'll see them. AMD has a 1.8GHz 40W processor and a 2GHz 55W processor. The thing about AMD's TDP measurements, however, is that they don't actually tell you how much power a chip might draw in the real world. Instead, they report theoretical maximum power consumption.

If a 2GHz chip is 55W and a 1.8GHz chip is 40W, it typically means the 2GHz version is running cool, but not *quite* cool enough for a 40W designation. Based on these numbers, I'm betting AMD will launch a low-power Magny-Cours eight-core processor at 55W and 1.6-1.8GHz. They could even do an LP 12-core, though I expect 55W would be a stretch.

 

Isn't posting the theoretical maximum okay? As long as the real world power draw doesn't exceed the theoretical max. Are you saying that this is occurring?

 

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animatortom I am a woman although I am not bailey1985. Your comments are pretty crude though. As for fashion I am not really into that as she seems to be, or so you say. I also think someone was talking about 8 cores and 12 cores, although that seems kind of crazy. Only one manufacturer even has a six core right now. I would not be utterly surprised though as fast as things seem to be going. Either way I hope that I, as a female don't offend you by posting on this forum, I did not think it mattered if I were male or female.

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"animatortom I am a woman although I am not bailey1985. Your comments are pretty crude though. As for fashion I am not really into that as she seems to be, or so you say. I also think someone was talking about 8 cores and 12 cores, although that seems kind of crazy. Only one manufacturer even has a six core right now. I would not be utterly surprised though as fast as things seem to be going. Either way I hope that I, as a female don't offend you by posting on this forum, I did not think it mattered if I were male or female."

Sorry, bbdl...

I guess they went ahead and took down the post from Bailey1985. I guess you had to see it to understand? I was confused whether it was spam or a shopping list. It was nothing against women, just that posting.

Personally I would like to see everyone on here, all the ones who are open minded and have a passion for tech. I was there when things like Comic con and E3, were only guys walking around, and it was so depressing and boring. I enjoy this site because it brings us all together about the things we love. I am having fun on this site, yet I am fairly new to all this posting thing. I have usualy been stuck behind a desk with a pencil and paper :) If it helps, my GF keeps me on a short leash since she thinks I'm "Otaku", Though does it count if that is your profession?

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Got to agree with bbdl here (about the woman here, not about bailey as she/HE totally deserved that "stupid spammers!"), although animatortoms never seem to post only for fun :( so its just how he is :)

Everyone loves to see advancement and im looking forward to your predictions coming true :P

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You are spot on Joel, Global Foundries is a state of the art manufacturing Fab and with the purchase of Chartered Semi I knew they would be a force to be reckoned with as their clients grew substantially with this acquisition. What this did was free AMD to concentrate on innovation and not have the burden on upgrading the numerous fabs every few years which can be quite expensive. Also the investing group of Abu Dhabi was looking to diversify their portfolio as they are well aware that one day the oil money will run dry and with this acquisition they have set themselves up nicely for future growth as technology is the future. Also this could not have come at a better time for AMD as I am not sure how long they would have lasted as Intel really turned up the heat with their Tic Tok stratagy. This was a win win for both parties as now there is competition is the wafer space but if TSMC cannot get yields on track there may be only one dominant chip manufacturer.

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Ryu,

Intel and AMD define TDP differently. According to Intel, a CPU's TDP is the amount of power a heatsink should be designed to dissipate in order to ensure CPU stability. AMD's TDP is the maximum amount of power a CPU can draw under any circumstance, even if these circumstances are virtually impossible to create in the real world.

The major problem with AMD's TDP measurements is that they tell you almost nothing about what sort of power envelope the CPU operates in on a day-to-day basis. Intel's TDP' s are not some iron-stamped definitive statement of absolute power consumption, but if you charted which measurement corresponded more closely to useful real world data, Intel would win.

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Joel H:

Ryu,

Intel and AMD define TDP differently. According to Intel, a CPU's TDP is the amount of power a heatsink should be designed to dissipate in order to ensure CPU stability. AMD's TDP is the maximum amount of power a CPU can draw under any circumstance, even if these circumstances are virtually impossible to create in the real world.

The major problem with AMD's TDP measurements is that they tell you almost nothing about what sort of power envelope the CPU operates in on a day-to-day basis. Intel's TDP' s are not some iron-stamped definitive statement of absolute power consumption, but if you charted which measurement corresponded more closely to useful real world data, Intel would win.

 

Thank you for further explaining how AMD and Intel quote their TDP. I see it all over the place like on the Newegg spec sheet and I just took them at face value. I should have known better than to think that AMD and Intel would follow a standard rule for something like this.

Surprising to me how Intel does it based on heat dissipation and it turns out to be more in line with real world data. Then again, heat is a form of energy.

 

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