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AMD's Fab 36 Control Room

Fab 36 Technician Unpacking Wafers

First Batch of Wafers Produced at Fab 36
The company prepares for next generation fabrication technology with an investment of over half a billion dollars USD

AMD began production of 90nm parts on 300mm wafers right on time this year at its Fab 36 location in Dresden, Germany. The company stated in its Q4 Earnings conference call to shareholders that production on revenue generating products is well underway. AMD's CEO Hector Ruiz said that AMD expects Fab 36 to be in full production by 2008.

However, recent reports indicate that AMD is attempting to raise capital in excess of $500 million USD to expand Fab 36 production equipment to support a move to 65nm -- the next big step for fabrication. Intel itself is already producing its Core Duo parts  on the new fabrication process and AMD said during its call that it expects to aggressively compete with Intel.

"We'll work our buns off to beat [Intel]. When we went from 180 [nm fabrication process] to 130, we were able to cut that in about half of that same time. Then when we went from 130 to 90, the time that it took to get there was significantly shorter. And our goal now going from 90 to 65, frankly, from the time we start shipping part, we'd like to be at mature yield," said Hector Ruiz, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of AMD.

According to the above statement, AMD is expecting that its ramp up to 65nm fabrication technology is going to happen fairly soon. Intel meanwhile, is already demonstrating its own capabilities with SRAM silicon manufactured at 45nm. According to the reports, AMD announcement of ramp timings as well as its CEO's statements match up pretty well. A quick run down of activities at AMD's Dresden facilities in chronological order:

2002 Production transition to 130 nm technology
2003 First Shipments of AMD Opteron and AMD Athlon 64 processors
2004 Construction of AMD Fab 36 Transition to 90 nm technology in AMD Fab 30
2005 Shipments of AMD Dual Core Processors out of AMD Fab 30 AMD Fab 36 tool move-in, start of test wafers

It takes researchers a minimum of 9 months for lithography tools to be built by tool manufacturers before they can be shipped to and used by AMD, and considering AMD's expectations for manufacturing in 65nm to ramp quickly, availability of parts may happen sooner than later. AMD also recently stated that it expects to be announcing quad-core processors at the tail end of the year right into 2007, and 65nm technology would definitely play a big role in delivering on that goal.


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Crazy
By Discord on 1/26/2006 12:47:08 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know what the hell they were thinking. The Fab 36 should have been ground up geared for 65nm. They told everyone that it was 65nm capable and that they were just producing at 90nm to get it going.
Now they have to spend a bunch of money to convert it? That makes absolutely no sense.
It makes me think that they're just beginning to develop their 65nm process. All of their roadmaps indicated that they're not going to have a 65nm product this year, which is a death wish if you ask me.
While AMD has the lead now Intel's Merman chips are going to be serious competition later this year. I would feel a lot better if they had at least the 65nm shrink in place to help counter it. But I'm sure slower running DDR2 based A64s will be all they need to raise the bar. There's an oxy-moron for you.




RE: Crazy
By osalcido on 1/26/2006 1:48:03 PM , Rating: 2
ive never heard of Merman chips...?


RE: Crazy
By Live on 1/26/2006 3:06:06 PM , Rating: 4
I think he is referring to the Mormon core. It’s going to be based on the Utah chipset.

On second thought he might be thinking of Merom which is Intel’s next mobile micro architecture. AMD already is having trouble in the mobile sector so I think Intel’s next-gen Conroe for the desktop and Woodcrest for servers is the bigger threat.


RE: Crazy
By Griswold on 1/26/2006 6:49:22 PM , Rating: 3
Heh, that one cracks me up. You should work for them and show them how to plan and build a multi-billion-dollar chip fab. You could make a fortune that way, as it seems to be really simple after all..


RE: Crazy
By MrKaz on 1/27/2006 6:48:10 AM , Rating: 2
AMD CEO said we would see AMD 65nm chips right at mature yields, which is a good strategy.
And a question for you, where are Intel 65nm chips, previewed 3/4 months ago?

In think AMD will start first with 90nm chips on 300mm wafers. I think it's good to work with one thing at a time. So 90nm already perfect, now 90nm on 300mm wafers good -> OK go to 65nm. Also AMD will release some new materials on 90nm that will lower power consuming.

Intel chips are going to be serious competition only when they will be released. You what AMD to answer intel (paper lunch), before intel really show anything, that sounds a little strange, ...
Paper lunch sounds bad. It's like Cyrix said would release a 16 core chips at 10Ghz with 4Ghz FSB on 2010.... and you say this will be serious competition to Intel….

About the slower running DDR2 based A64s, they will be needed because DDR2 is (will be) cheaper than DDR. AMD must go DDR2 even if it doesn’t get higher performance from it.


RE: Crazy
By JackPack on 1/27/2006 1:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And a question for you, where are Intel 65nm chips, previewed 3/4 months ago?
Ever heard of Newegg?

quote:
In think AMD will start first with 90nm chips on 300mm wafers. I think it's good to work with one thing at a time. So 90nm already perfect, now 90nm on 300mm wafers good -> OK go to 65nm. Also AMD will release some new materials on 90nm that will lower power consuming.
They already said they'll start with 90nm and plan to have 65nm equipment installed by the end of 2006. The problem is, quad-core isn't friendly on 90nm with the amount of space it consumes.


RE: Crazy
By Viditor on 1/27/2006 8:55:26 PM , Rating: 2
If you listen to the webcast rebroadcast of AMD's conference call last week...
http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?p=irol-e...
You will note several things...

1. 90nm on 300mm is at mature yields already and will be shipping for revenue this quarter.
2. 65nm will begin at mature yields and be shipping for revenue later this year.
3. Chartered Semiconductor will be shipping AMD chips for revenue by next quarter

I think where many people are getting confused is that AMD completely sold out of it's entire inventory last quarter. The 65nm equipment they are adding from the sale of the stock is to increase their production capacity, not start their production...
They have already produced 65nm chips that are good enough to ship, and they intend to begin volume production and shipping on the process later this year.
Quad-core is a server-only product (and you really couldn't make very good use of it on a home system) until software becomes FAR more SMP aware (2007-8?). The server market requires a much smaller volume (capacity being AMD's current weakness) but has an extremely high margin. I imagine that the quad-cores will sell for at least $1500 on their slowest part when they are released...the beauty for AMD on this is that they will have the market all to themselves for at least a year.


RE: Crazy
By goldenratio on 1/29/2006 8:53:51 AM , Rating: 2
AMD will not be able to ship 65nm chips this year
1. they need time to install & adjust the fabrication machines of 65nm, integrated circuit fabrication is very complex
2. need time to debug the new version chips
if everything is ok, the possible shipping date will be sometime of Q2 next year

as for "3. Chartered Semiconductor will be shipping AMD chips for revenue by next quarter"
really impossible (charter won't be able to do that even next year), firstly, you need to understand the difference bewteen Foundry & AMD's own fab, they use different manufacture equipment, different fabrication process (that means they use different method to produce chips).


RE: Crazy
By Viditor on 1/30/2006 1:20:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
1. they need time to install & adjust the fabrication machines of 65nm, integrated circuit fabrication is very complex

They demonstrated working 65nm CPUs way back in September to the press...so the point is that they have already gone well past that point and are in final tweaking mode.

"3. Chartered Semiconductor will be shipping AMD chips for revenue by next quarter"
really impossible (charter won't be able to do that even next year), firstly, you need to understand the difference bewteen Foundry & AMD's own fab, they use different manufacture equipment, different fabrication process (that means they use different method to produce chips)."


Again, you have to look at old press releases. They announced the installation of AMD's fabrication process at Chartered over a year ago...so yes, they are shipping for revenue within the next 3 months.

BTW, since these announcements were made at the conference call, if Ruiz was lying about it he could go to prison. I would say therefore it's probably true...:)


RE: Crazy
By goldenratio on 1/30/2006 9:05:24 AM , Rating: 2
my friend, the most important thing that you should keep in mind is don't always believe what the press say, especially when they make some comments about the future, actually, for those IT company, it's normal that they can't do what they tell the press they can do.
Besides, why i doubt about charter is mainly due to
1. Foundry usually don't need to catch the latest fabrication process, why? just because there is no need (new process is a black hole of money, on the contrary, old fabrication process is mature (high quality rate guarantee), most IC designers is not familiar with the latest fabrication process). meanwhile, most chips which are made by foudry is based on 130nm technology (i.e. 130nm is a very mature fabrication process)
2. Foundry doesn't have the capability to produce chips with the latest fabrication process, two reasons
- the machine rebuild cost much, it will be very very heavy burden for these Foundry
- Foundry research capability is not so strong as you think


RE: Crazy
By Viditor on 1/30/2006 10:08:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
don't always believe what the press say, especially when they make some comments about the future, actually, for those IT company, it's normal that they can't do what they tell the press they can do


Actually mate, they were advising analysts...not the press. As a professional investor, I can assure you that the new laws in the US prevent them from either lying or even misleading analysts in a Conference call. The penalty is 2 years in a Federal Prison. (this is because it's assumed by the SEC that the analysts represent the shareholders...)

I understand that Foundries don't usually catch the latest fabrication process, which is why this made front page business news in Nov of 2004
http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/print/20041109080...
The AMD lines at Chartered are 300mm on AMD's 90nm process, and even use AMD's proprietary APM technology...


RE: Crazy
By goldenratio on 2/1/2006 12:48:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can assure you that the new laws in the US prevent them from either lying or even misleading analysts in a Conference call. The penalty is 2 years in a Federal Prison. (this is because it's assumed by the SEC that the analysts represent the shareholders...)


Firstly, I don't mean the press or analyst is lying or misleading. what i really want to express is there are too many unpredictable factors from point view of engineering. secondly, prediction is just prediction, no one can guarantee his predictions are always correct. so, we need make our own judgement for these articles or interviews.

quote:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/print/20041109080... The AMD lines at Chartered are 300mm on AMD's 90nm process, and even use AMD's proprietary APM technology...

thanks for link, actually up to now charter still can't p volume production of 300mm wafers on 90nms in their fab7 (their 90nm process is not so mature as you think). even AMD itself can't do this now (AMD use 200mm wafer on 90nm currently), the biggest challenge for charter is how they make a sealess process match for AMD product.
maybe finally charter can achieve this, but they need time


RE: Crazy
By Viditor on 2/2/2006 12:20:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't mean the press or analyst is lying or misleading. what i really want to express is there are too many unpredictable factors from point view of engineering. secondly, prediction is just prediction, no one can guarantee his predictions are always correct. so, we need make our own judgement for these articles or interviews


Actually, it's Hector Ruiz (CEO of AMD) making those comments on the link I posted, not an analyst. He is answering analyst's questions at the conference call. He's not really making any prediction, he's making an announcement. For Chartered to be shipping for revenue that soon, many of the chips are already made...

quote:
actually up to now charter still can't p volume production of 300mm wafers on 90nms in their fab7 (their 90nm process is not so mature as you think). even AMD itself can't do this now (AMD use 200mm wafer on 90nm currently), the biggest challenge for charter is how they make a sealess process match for AMD product.


I don't think you understand here...
1. AMD is already on 90nm/300mm at Fab36, and they are shipping for revenue at the end of this quarter.
2. The AMD lines at Chartered were developed simultaneously under AMD's supervision. They are using AMD's process directly. In other words, they not only have the masks from AMD, but they have the actual process and software (APM 3.0) that AMD uses for manufacturing chips. That's why AMD received such a great financial deal from Chartered (their new lines are now superior to any Foundry in operation today). It's also a good reason why Chartered's profits have escalated so quickly recently...


RE: Crazy
By goldenratio on 2/2/2006 8:28:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually, it's Hector Ruiz (CEO of AMD) making those comments on the link I posted, not an analyst. He is answering analyst's questions at the conference call. He's not really making any prediction, he's making an announcement. For Chartered to be shipping for revenue that soon, many of the chips are already made...


Mr Ruiz made these comments based on his or his team's evaluation, comments for the future is just prediction unless it really happened. Acutally comments from senior managers is likely too optimistic. so i have one question for you: are all the comments from AMD correct? if you answer yes, so would you like to tell me does AMD postpone AMD64 launch time in the past compared with their original comments?

quote:
I don't think you understand here...
1. AMD is already on 90nm/300mm at Fab36, and they are shipping for revenue at the end of this quarter.

here, i can make some analysises. AMD still doesn't start to ship chips from 300mm wafer on 90nm now (i don't mean they can't do it in the future, i just mean they don't do it now), changing from 200mm wafer to 300mm wafer is not so easy, that's why AMD stick in 200mm wafter for so many years. changing to 300mm involve too many issues(equipment, test, quality rate etc..), the biggest problem for AMD is not whether they can do it or not, it's how they approach a good quality control

quote:
2. The AMD lines at Chartered were developed simultaneously under AMD's supervision. They are using AMD's process directly. In other words, they not only have the masks from AMD, but they have the actual process and software (APM 3.0) that AMD uses for manufacturing chips. That's why AMD received such a great financial deal from Chartered (their new lines are now superior to any Foundry in operation today). It's also a good reason why Chartered's profits have escalated so quickly recently...


I'm curious that you mentioned "AMD lines at Chartered". so do you mean this line is only open for AMD or this line can only produce AMD processors? If the whole line depend on one company's product, that's very risky for Chartered (for example if the company have any problem in market, this will put Charter in a very dangerous position), if this is true, why AMD didn't do this by itself? actually, AMD is just one of Chartered's Foundry customers. Chartered's 90nm is co-developed with IBM (Chartered-IBM 90nm Common Platform), Chartered is aiming to use its Fab7 (300mm/90nm) to meet the needs of all foundry customers, not just AMD.





RE: Crazy
By Viditor on 2/3/2006 1:27:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Mr Ruiz made these comments based on his or his team's evaluation, comments for the future is just prediction unless it really happened. Acutally comments from senior managers is likely too optimistic. so i have one question for you: are all the comments from AMD correct? if you answer yes, so would you like to tell me does AMD postpone AMD64 launch time in the past compared with their original comments?

All of the comments based on what AMD has already done(which includes inventory buildup, meaning chips already manufactured but not shipped) are absolutely correct under penalty of law. If you listen to the Conference Call again, and if you understand how chips are manufactured and shipped, you will note that his comments make it mandatory (again, under penalty of law) that many of these chips are already made, hence they are NOT a prediction but a statement of fact. When a launch is postponed, it's not because the chips are not being made, it's because they have not built up enough inventory for the launch. Remember that it takes at least 1 turn (~3 months) to manufacture a chip, and at least 2 turns to build up enough inventory for a launch.
quote:
AMD still doesn't start to ship chips from 300mm wafer on 90nm now (i don't mean they can't do it in the future, i just mean they don't do it now), changing from 200mm wafer to 300mm wafer is not so easy, that's why AMD stick in 200mm wafter for so many years. changing to 300mm involve too many issues(equipment, test, quality rate etc..), the biggest problem for AMD is not whether they can do it or not, it's how they approach a good quality control

Again, you need to understand how a Fab works...for AMD to announce that they will be SHIPPING 90nm chips from Fab36 (which is all 300mm) in April, they needed to have already made half of those chips. These chips (the AM2 90nm chips) are being stockpiled in inventory (which was emptied in December) for the April launch. AMD's quality control is handled by their APM 3.0 software, which is the very best in the world by far.
http://www.cleanroom-technology.co.uk/story.asp?st...
Please read the article, and it should help you understand how installing this same technology at Chartered has increased their ability so quickly. This is a proprietary system from AMD, and it was installed at Chartered in 2004.
quote:
I'm curious that you mentioned "AMD lines at Chartered". so do you mean this line is only open for AMD or this line can only produce AMD processors? If the whole line depend on one company's product, that's very risky for Chartered

Yes, it is. However, the reason they did it was to acquire AMD's manufacturing process. APM is by far the single most important innovation to ever come out of AMD, much more than x86-64 or HT...


perhaps a bigger suprise..
By ksherman on 1/26/2006 8:31:44 AM , Rating: 2
how cool would it be if AMD had no plans for 65nm, but has infact been kick'n it with 45nm...




RE: perhaps a bigger suprise..
By JackPack on 1/27/2006 1:55:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
how cool would it be if AMD had no plans for 65nm, but has infact been kick'n it with 45nm...
The irony....

Intel has already demonstrated a 45nm SRAM wafer.




Wow, that was a change
By Questar on 1/26/2006 11:55:16 AM , Rating: 2
A month ago AMD said there weren't going to 65nm because of "no benefit to customers at the time".

Now they say they haven't gone to 65nm because they need to get money fund it!





RE: Wow, that was a change
By Griswold on 1/26/2006 6:44:27 PM , Rating: 2
Reading & Comprehension. That is not what "they" said.


Heh..
By Mr Perfect on 1/26/2006 3:48:15 PM , Rating: 2
Is it just me, or does Beenthere's post remind anyone of the lates Penny Arcade comic(http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/01/25)?




RE: Heh..
By mxzrider2 on 1/27/2006 1:57:00 AM , Rating: 2
if you got paid to do, would u? yeah thats waht i thought. i am a amd fanboi so i wont comment on it


By videoclone on 1/26/2006 6:19:09 AM , Rating: 4
Shhh Intel will shut people like you up with its really big strong arm ..hehe ^_^ I had a friend a few days ago ask me what a Pentium would cost him these days .. I replied .. Do you mean what a computer would cost? He said yeah a Pentium…. ie. he thinks a Pentium = a Computer and so long as %80 of the world still thinks like this guy Intel will continue to control %80 of the market.

Nuff said!


By Furen on 1/26/2006 9:23:07 AM , Rating: 3
Seriously... kind of makes you wonder why Intel suddenly decided to kill of the Pentium name, huh?


By MrKaz on 1/26/2006 6:23:40 AM , Rating: 2
Let me just had:

And 30% less computing power (with bigger caches, higher DDR2 bandwith, higher FSB speeds, ...)


By y2chuck on 1/26/2006 1:44:56 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, totally agree Beenthere. Even from waaaaay back in the K6-2 days AMD was always innovating and getting better with every generation while Intel was just re-hashing the same crap with higher clock speeds.


By oTAL on 1/28/2006 9:44:38 AM , Rating: 2
"defective 65 nano designs"

You're the type that just wats everything your fed right? *lol*

I'm into AMD very much and for a long time now. But, unlike P4, the Core Duo is a great processor and denying it is just plain stupid.


By johnsonx on 1/30/2006 1:23:17 AM , Rating: 2
Cramitpal?

Though I must admit that post was quite a bit more articulate than was standard for the Cramitpal we all love and miss...


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