AMD May Halt Production Of 28-nm APUs at GlobalFoundries: Report


The future of AMD’s 28-nm Brazos-based APUs, code-named "Wichita," has been called in to question, according to a report from ExtremeTech.

AMD is allegedly scrapping ongoing production of its 28-nm APUs at GlobalFoundries in light of a slow, low-yield production ramp, according to ExtremeTech. The chipmaker is reportedly eyeing alternative foundry business Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturer (TSMC) to move forward with the 28-nm manufacturing process.

AMD spokesman Drew Prairie declined to comment, but told CRN that AMD remains "committed" to its partnership with GlobalFoundries. AMD spun off its chip manufacturing business in 2009, and the business was renamed GlobaFoundries.

While significant, AMD’s purported production shift from GlobalFoundries to TSMC wouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise, ExtremeTech reported. Rather, the move would represent only the latest development within an ongoing scuffle between the two companies.

During its Q3 quarterly earnings call, AMD attributed sluggish go-to-market rates to the "significant" manufacturing set-backs seen with its 32-nm and 45-nm technologies at GlobalFoundries.

"The less-than-forecasted preliminary third quarter 2011 revenue results are primarily due to 32 nanometer (nm) yield, ramp and manufacturing issues at GlobalFoundries in its Dresden, Germany factory that limited supply of 'Llano'. Additionally, 45nm supply was less than expected due to complexities related to the use of common tools across both technology nodes," AMD said during the call.

Despite set-backs in production, AMD saw healthy Q3 earnings of $97 million. CEO Rory Read did, however, emphasize during the call that there is "more to do" from an execution and manufacturing standpoint.

"We will continue an aggressive effort with our foundry partner to improve manufacturing performance of this important 32-nm technology," Read said. "And we are already seeing steady improvements, day after day, week after week. But we are not out of the woods yet."

AMD’s decision to halt production of its 28-nm APUs at GlobalFoundries could imply major financial "repercussions," ExtremeTech reported. What’s more, starting afresh at TSMC would lead the chipmaker back to the drawing board, as existing designs are centered around gate-first, rather than TSMC’s gate-last, manufacturing.