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Advanced Micro Devices on Friday carried out a “grand opening” ceremony of its Fab 36, which is expected to play crucial role in the company’s further expansion. The new foundry by AMD processes 300mm wafers and uses 90nm process technology, not 65nm technology as AMD said earlier. The fab is expandable and will be able to produce chips using more product lines and utilizing fabrication processes as thin as 32nm.

AMD Fab 36 – Opened on Schedule

“The on-schedule, on-plan opening of Fab 36 is the latest achievement in AMD’s growing track record of flawless execution on our manufacturing strategies and goals,” said Hector Ruiz, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of AMD.

“Fab 36 represents the pinnacle of AMD manufacturing and technology innovation,” said Daryl Ostrander, senior vice president, logic technology and manufacturing, Microprocessor Solutions Sector. “With our pioneering automation capabilities, state-of-the-art submicron process technologies developed in partnership with IBM, and the unique talents of our employees around the world, we can consistently deliver on our promises to customers now and in the future.”

After extensive due diligence, AMD chose to build Fab 36 in Dresden based on the successful track record of AMD Fab 30, the financial incentives package provided by the Free State of Saxony and Federal Republic of Germany, and the large number of talented engineering and technical personnel in the region.

AMD’s 65nm Process Delayed

The company said that the production ramp in Fab 36 was progressing on schedule, the company intends to make 90nm production shipments in the first quarter of 2006 and begin 65nm production by the end of 2006. AMD has set a goal to be substantially converted to 65nm in Fab 36 by mid-2007. Earlier AMD said that the Fab 36 was designed to be a 65nm from the start and even qualified appropriate production nodes.

“We are qualifying equipment as we speak. Fab 36 was designed to be a 65nm from the start. We are making great strides with IBM and our SRAM yields are hitting all our milestones,” said AMD’s Automated Precision Manufacturing (APM) director Tom Sonderman said in an interview in April, 2005

Mr. Sonderman indicated that the “idea” of AMD was to begin to process 65nm in the middle of 2005 and “bring it into production in 2006”. He said the chipmaker was “certainly on schedule”.

AMD’s arch-rival Intel Corp. said it would begin shipments of commercial processors made using 65nm process technology in late 2005.

The initial capacity of the fab is 13 000 300mm wafers per month, but the building itself allows AMD to expand the foundry to produce up to 20 000 wafers per month.

AMD plans to add production output on a steady year-to-year basis, giving it the potential to ship as many as 100 million units in 2008, while also keeping fab utilization at consistently high levels. This will help AMD meet growing demand for its award-winning AMD64 processors and achieve its objectives of capturing a significantly larger share of the x86 microprocessor market in the coming years, the company indicated.

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