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Last week we reported that IBM and AMD will develop advanced 65nm and 45nm (nanometer) technology processes together in IBM’s Semiconductor Research and Development Center (SRDC) in IBM's East Fishkill, New York facility (see this news-story). This information was very interesting given that in Summer 2002 AMD, Infineon and UMC announced that they had decided to combine their efforts in the development of new technologies for the production of integral schemes from 300mm wafers, 65nm and 45nm manufacturing process (see this news-story). In addition, in early 2002 AMD and UMC formed comprehensive alliance under which the two companies would establish a joint venture to own and operate a state-of-the-art, 300-mm wafer fabrication facility in Singapore for high-volume production of PC processors and other logic products (see this news-story). We presupposed that AMD will be able to expand its manufacturing capabilities by using IBM’s ( maybe, Chartered Semiconductor’s) and UMC’s facilities in order to produce its chips, however, the reality appeared to be quite different.

Apparently, AMD and UMC terminated their agreement about establishing a joint venture to own fabrication facility in Singapore. Moreover, AMD and UMC also amicably ended their agreement on developing manufacturing technologies together. The information was quite shocking for us, as the advantages of the alliance were clear for both parties and a lot of questions appeared in regards the future of AMD. Fortunately, we managed to contact an AMD’s Corporate Public Relations officer, who told us a number of facts to make it clear what will happen in the future.

UMC will produce microprocessors for AMD on a contract basis using 0.13 micron technology. Currently UMC utilises a numerous advanced manufacturing techniques AMD shared with them, however, by now AMD has not announced any plans for UMC to manufacture any of their SOI-based parts, hence, do not expect x86-64 processors made by UMC in the near future. Moreover, AMD’s present plans do not include collaboration with UMC on 90nm process technology (probably because 90nm process from AMD requires SOI). It seems that Athlon XP code-named Barton processors may become the first and the last advanced CPUs from AMD to be made by UMC.

It was already said that AMD intends to begin manufacturing their 65nm process on 300mm wafers in the second half of 2005 and now the company expects to partner in the manufacturing facility that will produce these wafers. Of course, AMD wants to continue to remain the source of majority of AMD CPUs, however, it is possible that AMD will outsource part of the manufacturing activities. IBM will be included on the list of potential partners the Sunnyvale-based semiconductor company evaluates.

I hope this makes things more or less clear. Expect more to come soon.


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