I don’t normally jump on the quick news of the day as I’m an industry analyst and not a journalist, but I came across a tidbit on Advanced Micro Devices that I thought would be important to my audience. News about where a chip company manufactures their silicon is important as it provides insights into the bounding box, capabilities and risk profile of the company over the next 1-3 years.
Following Advanced Micro Devices positive second quarterly earnings release, many industry analysts were peppering Advanced Micro Devices with questions on exactly where they were manufacturing their upcoming 14nm products. For years, AMD has been competitive with NVIDIA on graphics but behind Intel microprocessor and SoC nodes and process technology, and if AMD can successfully move to 14nm, it has the potential to narrow the gap. In my opinion, not AMD’s opinion, GlobalFoundries has been a major disappointment for years as they struggled with AMD silicon, often being their decelerator, so any diversification from GF is a positive one.
AMD sent me some answers on their 14nm plans and this is a really big deal:
“AMD has strong foundry partnerships and our primary manufacturing partners are GLOBALFOUNDRIES and TSMC. We have run some product at Samsung and we have the option of enabling production with Samsung if needed as part of the strategic collaboration agreement they have with GLOBALFOUNDRIES to deliver 14nm FinFET process technology capacity.”
Essentially, AMD has run real products, not just test chips through Samsung’s fab and have the ability now, based on an ambiguous “if needed” trigger point, to fab there. The quote above creates many questions, I understand, but just the notion that AMD has the ability to fab their products at Samsung is a positive, as Samsung has been so successful the past few years. Also note that this wouldn’t be the same exact process as Samsung fabs Apple products on as APUs and SoCs need a higher performance process, not the ones smartphone chips are done with.
All in all, this lowers the risk to AMD and their products and puts them in a much better position on CPUs, APUs and SoCs then they have been in years.