During the meetings held in Japan, AMD representatives gave the audience to understand that the transition to 0.065micron process was sticking to their schedule. In the second half of 2006 Fab 36 will start manufacturing 0.065micron processors, and the corresponding products will be officially announced in Q1 2007. The new production technology will be using Germanium (SiGe).
In his interview to EETimes site Hans Deppe, Vice President of AMD Germany, revealed some additional details about the AMD’s technological plans. We decided to share those details with you today.
So, Fab 36 is going to become AMD’s primary weapon for successful introduction of new technologies for the next few years. As a rule, AMD’s fabs feature life cycles of about 5-6 years and manage to deliver 3-4 generations of processors. After that a new fab needs to be built, because the old one needs complete re-equipment, which is not always cost-effective.
By the second half of 2007, Fab 36 can start conquering new 0.045micron technology. Some other sources claim that AMD may start manufacturing 0.045micron CPUs only in H1 2008, however these two opinions do not contradict one another at all. The thing is that there might be different stage of production process implied in either way. By the way, AMD may also start using high-k dielectric materials within the introduction of 0.045micron process.
Speaking of the nearer future, we can expect the following production increase from the Fab 36: by the end of this year fab 36 will manufacture 13,000 300mm silicon wafers a month; in H2 2007 this number will reach 20,000 wafers a month. This is unlikely to lead to significant reduction of processors production costs, because AMD will be investing all funds from production increase and transistor miniaturization into production expansion. So, they expect the production yields to reach 100 mln. units a year in 2008.
I believe that one of the most interesting statements made by AMD official was the model name of the first 0.065micron processors that will come off the Fab 36 production lines in the second half of the year. Mr. Deppe said that these would be the dual-core Athlon 64 X2 processors. I believe he was talking about Brisbane CPUs.
As you probably remember, Fab 36 is currently manufacturing single-core 0.09micron Athlon 64 and Sempron processors. The type of CPUs manufactured on this fab give us a very clear idea of AMD’s priorities. For example, today the company needs inexpensive single-core processors. In the beginning of next year AMD will need a lot of dual-core Athlon 64 X2 CPUs. Hopefully the transition to 0.065micron process will make these processors less expensive, especially since AMD’s major competitor, Intel, promises to pursue very aggressive pricing policy. In early 2007 up to 50% of the CPUs manufactured by Fab 36 will use 0.065micron process.