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As Advanced Micro Devices is getting ready to start pilot production ramp of its 45nm process technology, its “flexible” manufacturing partner Chartered Semiconductor claims that it would be ready with its 45nm process technology late this year. The contract maker claims that it expects to produce 45nm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) chips by mid-2009, just a little later compared to AMD itself.

“We are sparing no efforts in our 45nm development […] and expect to enable our customers with the technology from the end of this year,” said Chia Song Hwee, the president and chief executive officer at Chartered Semiconductor, according to a transcript located at Seeking Alpha web-site.

Typically contract semiconductor manufactures, such as Chartered or TSMC, first develop their bulk process technologies and then supply their partners so-called libraries of elements and general design rules. Intellectual property owners have to develop their chipsets according to guidelines of the new process technologies; therefore, there is a timeframe between availability of fabrication technologies and volume manufacturing.

“Our 45nm technology bring up is on track. I have also talked in the past that from the industry adoption and ramp standpoint, we should [hardly] see any meaningful volume until probably [the] early part of mid-2009, which roughly [is similar with the ramp of 65nm process technology],” Mr. Hwee said.

Even though the head of Chartered did not say it directly, Advanced Micro Devices and Microsoft Corp. are working with the semiconductor manufacturer to produce their Athlon/Phenom/Sempron and XCPU (Xenon) processors using 45nm process technology.

“Practically every customer that we have engaged on 65nm is already working with us on 45nm, including the companies that we are working [with] in the alliance,” said chief executive officer of Chartered.

Despite of the fact that AMD uses SOI, it will be able to take advantage of Chartered production capacities in the first half of 2009, just like other customers of the Singapore-based contract chipmaker.

“Specifically on the SOI, we do not see any change in terms of the timing as well. It’s going to be around [for production] in that kind of timeframe in the late first half of 2009,” Mr. Hwee added.


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