Items tagged with GlobalFoundries

The big news of the day, based on a leaked Intel roadmap, is that Broadwell won't launch in 2014. Instead, we'll see a Haswell refresh with unknown performance characteristics (slightly higher clocks are the best bet) and, late in the year, a "Haswell-E" server part on the X99 chipset. Ivy Bridge-E, the six-core LGA2011 CPU, is still set for later this year, on the X79 chipset. The big assumption coming out of this is that Intel has delayed 14nm production and that Broadwell wont' ship at all in 2014. Based on sources we've spoken to, this isn't accurate. The flaw in the current story is that it implicitly assumes that desktop is the focus of Intel's business and that the company would naturally... Read more...
It's been obvious for weeks that Intel's earnings call this afternoon wasn't going to have much good news in it. With total PC shipments falling 13% quarter-on-quarter -- the worst decline in nearly 20 years -- there was no way Intel would escape being hit by that drop. Today, Santa Clara reported that its Q1 profits fell 25%, to $2B, down from $2.7B in the first quarter of 2012. Gross margins took a hammering, as well, falling to 56.2% from 64% in Q1 2012. Despite these problems, Otellini was upbeat. "“Amidst market softness, Intel performed well in the first quarter and I’m excited about what lies ahead for the company,” said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO. “We... Read more...
AMD announced late today that it's reached a new wafer supply agreement (WSA) with GlobalFoundries. This is the second time AMD has renegotiated the agreement this year, and while the new arrangement offers Sunnyvale some needed flexibility, it carries further penalties as well. First, a few quick explanations. The WSA governs the purchase and manufacture of microprocessors. AMD agrees to buy a certain number of wafers from GF per quarter and it negotiates payment for those wafers in several different ways. In 2011, AMD and GF agreed that Sunnyvale only had to pay GlobalFoundries for fully functional chips. At the time, GlobalFoundries was having problems ramping Llano. This agreement heavily... Read more...
Ready to nerd out? Great. Globalfoundries has rolled out details surrounding its new FinFET transistor architecture, which is engineered specifically with mobile devices in mind. No real surprise, given that mobile is quite clearly the future. Desktops have already fallen behind laptops, and seems just a matter of time before tablets start making a serious dent in the laptop market -- at least for average, non-gaming consumers. Now, Globalfoundries is showcasing its 14nm-XM offering, which is said to be the industry's finest non-planar architecture.  The technology is expected to deliver a 40-60% improvement in battery life when compared to today's two-dimensional planar transistors at the... Read more...
Last month, TSMC's CEO Morris Chang made waves when he suggested that it could make sense for the company to dedicate fabs to particular customers. Fresh reports today, however, suggest that both Apple and TSMC made major bids for exclusivity on future TSMC production facilities, and both were rejected. Does this mean Chang's earlier comments were misinterpreted? No -- but it does demonstrate the difference between what Chang/TSMC is willing to contemplate and what companies like Qualcomm and Apple want. TSMC may be willing to commit full fabs to customer-specific production, but the company isn't going to sign a piece of paper that gives a customer direct control over what happens to those fabs... Read more...
ARM and GlobalFoundries have been working together ever since AMD spun GlobalFoundries off as an independent business, but the two companies are taking steps to further expand their joint development efforts. As part of the deal, ARM has committed to creating a "full platform of ARM Artisan® Physical IP, including standard cell libraries, memory compilers and POP™ IP solutions." We typically discuss ARM as selling licenses to various companies like Samsung, Texas Instruments, and Nvidia, but licenses aren't the company's only product. When ARM talks about physical IP, it's referring to all the other components that go into the SoC and make it tick. Need an L2 cache implementation, a... Read more...
Trusted sources we've spoken to in the semiconductor industry have implied that TSMC is considering a partnership with Apple that would realign the manufacturer's technology roadmap and fundamentally alter the balance of power between the foundry and its other customers. Morris Chang, TSMC's CEO, spoke about the possibility of closer collaboration with its customers in general terms last Friday, but at the time we thought the likelihood of an Apple alliance was unlikely. We've since been given reason to think otherwise. A dedicated alliance with Apple that gives the company first access to 20nm production and/or a dedicated fab could fundamentally redefine the foundry-customer relationship and... Read more...
Trusted sources we've spoken to in the semiconductor industry have implied that TSMC is considering a partnership with Apple that would realign the manufacturer's technology roadmap and fundamentally alter the balance of power between the foundry and its other customers. Morris Chang, TSMC's CEO, spoke about the possibility of closer collaboration with its customers in general terms last Friday, but at the time we thought the likelihood of an Apple alliance was unlikely. We've since been given reason to think otherwise. A dedicated alliance with Apple that gives the company first access to 20nm production and/or a dedicated fab could fundamentally redefine the foundry-customer relationship... Read more...
Leading Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) wafer manufacturer Soitec published an updated roadmap today, detailing how it plans to make fully-depleted SOI technology (FD-SOI) available through the 14nm process node, but there's some question as to the degree of industry support for the company's technology. In theory, FD-SOI could solve some of the scaling problems semiconductor foundries are facing, but the associated cost and difficulty of implementation are still unknowns. "Each new generation of technology faces unique challenges, and we currently are at an inflection point where we cannot rely solely on traditional CMOS technology to solve them," said Handel Jones, founder and CEO of International... Read more...
It's been six weeks since Eric Demers, AMD's CTO of graphics, left the company to pursue other opportunities, and another former ATI employee has followed his example. Godfrey Cheng, who recently served as one of AMD's Director of Client Technologies, has left the company. Cheng was part of AMD's high-profile Llano launch and reportedly chose to leave after it became clear that AMD wasn't going to follow Rick Bergman's ideas for how to best leverage AMD's graphics and APU assets. How much truth there is to that assertion is unclear. Bergman's departure was certainly surprising, but the slides AMD showed at Financial Analyst Day in February confirmed the shape of the slides Bergman showed in June... Read more...
To celebrate its third anniversary as a chip manufacturing foundry, Globalfoundries over the weekend announced an agreement with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) to buy out all remaining shares to achieve full independence. Under the amended agreement, AMD will continue to be one of Globalfoundries' "primary and strategic customers," only without a stake in the foundry, which is now wholly owned by the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC). "Today marks the start of a new era for Globalfoundries as it becomes a truly independent foundry," said Globalfoundries CEO Ajit Manocha. "Globalfoundries has a clear vision to be the leading semiconductor foundry partner to AMD and one of the world's... Read more...
Intel made headlines last year when it announced that it would fab 22nm products for FPGA designer Achronix. This week, the company has unveiled an additional 22nm partner. Santa Clara will also be building parts for Tabula and will build that company's new Spacetime microprocessors. Tabula claims that its new chip "uses time as a third dimension to deliver unmatched capability and affordability. Tabula achieves this breakthrough by combining the Spacetime hardware that dynamically reconfigures logic, memory, and interconnect at multi-GHz rates with the Spacetime compiler that manages this ultra-rapid reconfiguration transparently." That's so meaningless it hurts. It's a reconfigurable FPGA that... Read more...
AMD has confirmed that Eric Demers, AMD's graphics Chief Technology Officer and head of the graphics business unit, has left the company to "pursue other opportunities." His job will be taken over by Mark Papermaster until a replacement is found. AMD notes in a prepared statement that it "remains fully committed to our critical graphics IP development and discrete GPU products.  We have a tremendous depth of talent in our organization, a game plan that is resonating with our customers and our team, and we are continuing to bring graphics-performance-leading products to market.  We will attract the right technology leader for this role." Demers is just the latest executive to leave AMD--in... Read more...
Reports from multiple foundries suggest that the industry has had trouble ramping 28nm production, despite early bullish promises and repeated assurances. The situation is something of a high-tech 'I told you so.' As we've previously covered, each new process node has been an increasingly difficult shift as manufacturers have had to ramp new production technologies to build smaller parts. After TSMC's well-publicized problems ramping 40nm, it seemed unlikely that any foundry would be able to painlessly shift down to the 28nm node. Both GlobalFoundries and TSMC countered these rumors by detailing aggressive product ramps and, in TSMC's case, a separate 28nm process built using traditional SiON... Read more...
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