AMD Claims Manufacturing is on Time and on Schedule

The chip maker plans to fully convert to 65 nanometer later this year and the company remains on schedule to deliver its 45-nanometer processors in mid-2008.

Advanced Micro Devices is reassuring the IT industry that it can deliver both its 65-nanometer and 45-nanometer processors on time and that its manufacturing facilities can keep pace with larger rival Intel.

In a meeting with analysts May 21, AMD announced that it is on schedule to fully ramp up two of its fabs for 65-nanometer production later this year and the company will produce 45-nanometer processors on time as well.

During the quarterly meeting with analysts in San Francisco Monday, Tom Sonderman, AMDs director of Manufacturing Technology, detailed the companys plan for full, 65-nanometer microprocessor manufacturing by the middle of this year and also restated the chip makers plans for 45-nanometer production in 2008.

Part of Sondermans outline touched on AMDs "elegant efficiency" approach to manufacturing that focus on maximizing existing technology before making additional investments, which, he said, allows the company more flexibility in producing its microprocessors.

While AMD has claimed the mantle in terms of microprocessor design, Intel has had the clear advantage in terms of manufacturing, with many more manufacturing facilities than its smaller rival. This advantage also will allow Intel to ramp up its own 45-nanometer manufacturing processor faster than AMD.

In the past few months, AMD has found itself struggling financially and its last two quarterly results have been disappointing. Some analysts have suggested that the company might outsource more of its manufacturing in order to save money. As of now, the company has collaborated on manufacturing technology with IBM and also has inked deals with Chartered Semiconductor to secure additional capacity if its needed.

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In the meantime, AMD plans on moving ahead with its road map that calls for delivering a full line of 65-nanometer processors by later this year and then a revamp to 45-nanometer by 2008.

Currently, AMD produces its 65-nanometer processors at its two main fabs in Dresden, Germany. One facility, Fab 36, is already on line and producing these processors, while Fab 30 is on schedule to fully convert from 90-nanometer to 65-nanometer by later this year.

When the 65-nanometer revamp is complete, Fab 30 will be renamed Fab 38.

In addition, Sonderman told analysts that AMD is on schedule to produce its quad-core Opteron processors, codenamed "Barcelona," in volume at the Fab 36 facility by the middle of this year.

Some in the industry, Sonderman said, have questioned whether AMD can produce its quad-core processors, which the company claims offer a "native" and more elegant design of four processing cores on a single piece of silicon, on the 65-nanometer process. In part, Mondays meeting was to ensure analysts that the company will deliver its newest processor on time.

"Native, multicore processors remain a viable approach for AMD," Sonderman told eWEEK prior to the meeting.

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In addition, Sonderman said AMD will start delivering 45-nanometer processors by the middle of 2008 to compete with Intels "Penryn" family of 45-nanometer chips, which are scheduled to hit the market late in 2007.

The pilot lines for AMDs 45-nanometer processors, Sonderman said, area already running in Dresden. In addition, Sonderman said AMD will start using immersion lithography chip-printing processes for its 45-nanometer processors at the Dresden facility.

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