Advanced Micro Devices has had major issues with the 32nm silicon-on-insulator process technology. As a result of those problems, the yields of the company's code-named Llano accelerated processing units (APUs) were so low that the company had to delay them by many months. Besides, those problems affected release schedule of next-gen Bulldozer micro-processors. But the issues seem to be largely behind AMD.
"We had been having slow kind of ramp of the yield curve [with 32nm SOI]. [...] I can tell you today that we are now [on the ramp take off part] of the yield curve. Our 32nm is healthy and it is ramping up to support our product launches next year," said Chekib Akrout, senior vice president of technology group at AMD, during the company's conference with financial analysts.
As previously reported, AMD currently promises its partners to start mass production of its eight-core code-named Zambezi processor for desktops using 32nm SOI fabrication process in April, 2011. The chip will be not only AMD's first central processing unit made using 32nm SOI at Globalfoundries, but it will be the first processor based on the highly-anticipated Bulldozer micro-architecture. The Zambezi product will be released to market in Q2, according to Mr. Akrout, whereas its server brethren will see the light of the day in Q3 2011.
Meanwhile, according to sources familiar with AMD Llano launch schedule, the company will only obtain engineering samples of Llano that it can provide to partners in March, 2011, and will have production candidate in June next year. The firm currently plans to start mass production of Llano in July, 2011.
The fact that AMD and Globalfoundries have solved the problems with 32nm technology process is a good news for AMD as products made using the latest fabrication tech should not only improve competitive position of the company against Intel Corp., but also prove the feasibility of the acquisition of ATI Technologies back in 2006.
Unfortunately for AMD, the company's manufacturer will only start mass production of 32nm chips about 1.5 years behind Intel Corp. and only about six months before the world's largest maker of chips starts to manufacture processors at 22nm node.