AMD Reports Q3 2011 Results

Subject: Editorial | October 28, 2011 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: Q3 2011, ontario, llano, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, bulldozer, brazos, amd

Unlike Intel, AMD was unable to report record revenues.  What they were able to report was a small profit.  They also were able to show some growth above that expected by most analysts, and even those in AMD.  Earlier this quarter AMD warned that revenues might not be as high as expected, but in the end AMD seemed to have done ok.

The company had a gross revenue of $1.69 billion, which is well above the expected $1.66 billion many analysts were predicting.  Net profit for the quarter came in at a reasonable $97 million.  This is a big improvement from Q3 2010, which had a net income of -$118 million.  Being positive for a quarter is a big accomplishment for AMD.  Controlling costs as a fabless semiconductor company is a lot easier as compared to running multiple Fabs and researching and implementing next generation process nodes.  Margins increased to 45%, but are still a far cry from the 60% plus that Intel achieves.  ASPs are also down due to the large amount of low priced, 45 nm parts that AMD still sells.

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The primary movers for the positive results for AMD are their lineup of APUs.  The “Bobcat” based APUs have been a success for quite a few months, and with their superior performance and features as compared to the competing Intel Atom series, AMD is making a tidy sum off of them.  The big winner in the APU sector is of course Llano.  The uptake on this processor in the mobile space has been tremendous.  AMD has seen a 35% increase in mobile sales, and when combined with the already strong Brazos/Ontario platform, AMD is finally a factor in the mobile market.  The only real issue in this market that AMD is facing is that of continued poor yields on Llano processors.

Continue reading this article after the break.

Source: AMD

Bulldozer Impressions: That was... interesting

Subject: Editorial | October 12, 2011 - 05:45 AM |
Tagged: GLOBALFOUNDRIES, fx-8150, bulldozer, am3+, amd, 32 nm

Huh. 

I am pretty sure I am not the only person who has read these Bulldozer reviews (including Ryan's here at PC Perspective) and had that particular reaction.  Bulldozer was supposed to bulldoze the competition.  It turns out it barely outpaces its own predecessor, the Phenom II X6 1100T.  In fact, in terms of IPC, the older Thuban architecture gives it a sound thrashing when both are clocked at 3.3 GHz.  So why should I be impressed with this processor?

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I guess the answer is… you shouldn’t.  At least not yet.  I distinctly remember back in November of 2007 being invited to Lake Tahoe to test and report about the first Phenom samples that were available for limited testing.  We were not allowed to take the samples home with their new AM2+ based motherboards.  When going over the results of the tests with Ryan (I was not part of PCPer at the time) we quickly saw that the 2.6 GHz Phenom was unable to keep up with the Core 2 Q6600 from Intel.  This was a little surprising, as we expected the original Phenom to clean house due to its very forward looking architecture (HT, IMC, beefier FP/SIMD units, etc.).  The original Phenom had its fair share of problems, to say the least.  TDPs were very high, there was the revision B2 bug that was solved in B3, and due to the 65 nm process it did not nearly have as much cache as was needed to make it a more efficient product.

Click to read the rest of this post.

Source: AMD

Oh Llano, wherefore art thou?

Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2011 - 09:14 AM |
Tagged: llano, APU, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, 28nm, 32nm, trinity, amd

Woe is AMD, as it becomes ever more obvious that Llano is not giving good yields at GLOBALFOUNDRIES.  Back in July the market noticed that while the new Llano chips were great at providing good enough graphics for a great price, they were very hard to find.  As a consumer you might be able to find a notebook to purchase for yourself but as a reseller who needs to buy processors in the thousands before considering that chip as a part of the new product line up you have been out of luck.  According to DigiTimes this will change in 2012 with the arrival of Trinity which will still use GLOBALFOUNDRIES 32nm process, turning to TSMC for the 28nm graphical portion.  The previous hope that the supply problems would be solved in September were obviously a little too optimistic.

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"Supply of AMD's Llano APUs, affected by Globalfoundries's lower-than-expected 32nm yield rates, has been significantly limited and is unlikely to recover until the company's upcoming Trinity arrives in 2012, according to sources from motherboard players. When asked about the company's upcoming Trinity schedule, AMD Taiwan declined to comment on unannounced products.

AMD started suffering from Llano APU supply shortages in July due to the yield issues and the company originally expected the supply status to return to normal in September. However, judging from the current situation, the sources believe the company's supply volume is unlikely to meet client demand through the end of 2011.

The sources estimated that the yield rate issue should be resolved in 2012, when Trinity launches."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

IDF 2011: Other Foundries Falling Further Behind Intel Technology

Subject: General Tech, Processors | September 13, 2011 - 03:07 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, idf 2011, idf, GLOBALFOUNDRIES

While learning about the intricacies of the Intel tri-gate 22nm process technology at the Intel Developer Forum, Senior Intel Fellow Mark Bohr surprised me a bit by discussing the competition in the foundry market.  Bohr mentioned the performance advantages and competitive edge that the new 22nm technology offers but also decided to mention that other companies like TSMC, GlobalFoundries, Samsung and IBM are behind, and falling further behind as we speak.

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When Intel introduced strained silicon in 2003, it took competition until 2007 to implement it.  For High-K Metal Gate technology that Intel brought into market in 2007 it wasn't until 2011 that AMD introduced in its product line.  Finally, with tri-gate coming in 2011, GlobalFoundries is talking about getting it implemented in the 2015 time frame.

Obviously those are some long delays but more important to note is that the gap between Intel and the field's implementations has been getting longer.  Three years for strained silicon, three and a half for high K and up to four years for tri-gate.  Of course, we could all be surprised to see tri-gate come from a competitor earlier, but if this schedule stays true, it could mean an increasing advantage for Intel's products over AMD's and eventually into ARM's. 

This also discounts the occasional advantage that AMD had over Intel in the past like being the first to integrate copper interconnects (on the first Athlon) and the first to develop a Silicon-on-Insulator product (starting with the 130nm process); though Intel never actually adopted SOI. 

Source: PCPer
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Bulldozer Ships for Revenue

Some months back we covered the news that AMD had released its first revenue shipments of Llano.  This was a big deal back then, as it was the first 32 nm based product from AMD, and one which could help AMD achieve power and performance parity with Intel in a number of platforms.  Llano has gone on to be a decent seller for AMD, and it has had a positive effect on AMD’s marketshare in laptops.  Where once AMD was a distant second in overall terms of power and performance in the mobile environment, Llano now allows them to get close to the CPU performance of the Intel processors, achieve much greater performance in graphics workloads, and has matched Intel in overall power consumption.

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KY Wong and Marshall Kwait hand off the first box of Bulldozer based Interlagos processors to Cray's Joe Fitzgerald.  Photo courtesy of AMD.

Some five months later we are now making the same type of announcement for AMD and their first revenue shipment of the Bulldozer core.  The first chips off the line are actually “Interlagos” chips; basically server processors that feature upwards of 16 cores (8 modules, each module containing two integer units and then the shared 256 bit FPU/SSE SIMD unit).  The first customer is Cray, purveyor of fine supercomputers everywhere.  They will be integrating these new chips into their Cray XE6 supercomputers, which have been purchased by a handful of governmental and education entities around the world.

Continue reading for our analysis on AMD's processor future...

More on GLOBALFOUNDRIES 32nm process and the supply problems we've seen

Subject: General Tech | September 7, 2011 - 11:07 AM |
Tagged: GLOBALFOUNDRIES, 32nm, llano

We have mentioned in the Podcast and on the front page that GLOBALFOUNDRIES 32nm process has been having some problems.  Poor yields have prevented AMD from hitting the targets that they wanted to see from Llano thought they still produce enough to sell.  The supply is enough to keep up with the demands of the individual DIY system builders but AMD really wants major laptop and system vendors to pick up Llano as a base for new models.  Since they want to order very large numbers of APUs at the same time, until Llano can reliably be available for bulk purchases AMD's new APU is not terribly attractive to those vendors.  Why is the Llano having such troubles? Check out Charlie's theory over at SemiAccurate.

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"Global Foundries is having the proverbial ‘issues’ with their high end 32nm-SHP process. The knee-jerk reaction is to kick GloFo for the problems, but that doesn’t take in to account the good partss of the process.

To say this story is complex and nuanced is putting things mildly. The 32nm-SHP process is the first foundry process to ship High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) chips, and it is the first foundry to ship customer products on a sub-40nm process. They are also the only foundry shipping HKMG products with strain, aka a SiGe cap. That is the hard part, compared to strain, the rest of the HKMG process is easy. The fact that AMD has shipped almost 10 million Llano CPUs by now says that something is going right. GloFo is currently making things that no one else can, and with a 6+ month lead on the competition."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: SemiAccurate

GLOBALFOUNDRIES 20nm tape out

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2011 - 09:34 AM |
Tagged: tape out, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, amd, 20nm

When then discussion turns to a chip taping out, we are referring to an obsolete practice where a chip would be designed on a large scale and then reduced through photolithography.  Originally, once a chip design was finalized on paper it went to the artwork stage where an engineer would literally tape out and glue the design to create a photomask which would allow light through in a variety of ways or utterly block it.  That light was focused to create a smaller version, which then was used to make an even smaller version ... until it was of a size to etch the physical components of the chip onto the wafer and with a bit of luck and a lot of skill you would end up with a chip that worked to the specs you expected.

You can't exactly do that anymore, as the current generation of chips coming out of GLOBALFOUNDRIES uses a 20nm process, smaller than even extreme UV wavelengths and the magnitude of size reduction would be insurmountable.  Thankfully there is CAD and many other more mature ways of creating chips than the old cut and paste method.  This puts AMD in a good position to transfer to a 20nm process in the future, smaller than Intel's 22nm process but lacking the Tri-Gate three dimensional transistors that Intel will be implementing.  Drop by The Inquirer for more.

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"CHIPSHOP Globalfoundaries has announced that it taped out a test chip using its 20nm process node.

Globalfoundaries, best known for being the main chip fab partner of AMD, has been working to get its 28nm and 20nm process nodes up and running. For Globalfoundaries and its customers - in particular, AMD - having a mature 20nm process is desirable to show it has possibilities for die-shrinkage in the near future."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: The Inquirer

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Announces Lineup for Second Annual Global Technology Conference

Subject: Shows and Expos | August 11, 2011 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: GLOBALFOUNDRIES, GTC 2011

Milpitas, Calif. – August 11, 2011 – GLOBALFOUNDRIES today announced the agenda for its second annual Global Technology Conference (GTC) on Tuesday, August 30 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif. GTC 2011 will be a seminal opportunity to learn about the vision and strategy of the new GLOBALFOUNDRIES leadership team, in addition to featuring executives and technologists from throughout the semiconductor ecosystem.

“In the past two months, I have spent a great deal of time working with and listening to our customers,” said Ajit Manocha, chief executive officer of GLOBALFOUNDRIES. “They are critical to our success, and we are committed to delivering the innovation and technology solutions that they are demanding from the foundry industry. We are excited to take this opportunity to update our customers, partners and the rest of the ecosystem on the business momentum we’ve achieved since GTC 2010 and particularly over the last few months.”

GTC 2011 will feature a keynote address by Manocha and presentations from other members of the GLOBALFOUNDRIES executive leadership as well as management and technical teams. The conference also will include a highlight from the previous year’s event—a panel discussion among senior executives in the EDA/IP ecosystem examining industry trends and challenges in leading-edge design enablement. Moderated by Mojy Chian, GLOBALFOUNDRIES senior vice president of design enablement, the panel will feature the following participants:

  • Warren East, chief executive officer, ARM
  • Lip-Bu Tan, president and chief executive officer, Cadence Design Systems
  • Aart de Geus, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, Synopsys
  • Robert Hum, vice president and general manager, Deep Submicron Division, Mentor Graphics

“At last year’s inaugural GTC event, we received a tremendous response from the industry as we outlined our plans to change the foundry landscape and revive competition at the leading edge,” said Jim Kupec, senior vice president of sales and marketing at GLOBALFOUNDRIES. “We have made a great deal of progress and overcome significant challenges to become the only foundry in volume production of leading-edge High-k Metal Gate (HKMG) technology. We look forward to sharing our successes and demonstrating our continued commitment to bringing a differentiated model to the foundry industry.”

In addition, GLOBALFOUNDRIES will present “Leading in Innovation” awards to customers and partners who are working with the company on products ranging from 0.35um non-volatile to 130nm and 65nm RFCMOS, and leading-edge 28nm technologies for processors and high-speed, low-power analog solutions. These awards epitomize the GTC 2011 theme of driving product innovation through true collaboration between GLOBALFOUNDRIES and its ecosystem partners on leading edge and mainstream CMOS technologies, as well as solutions for high voltage, embedded non-volatile memories, RF, analog, and MEMS.

GTC 2011 is expected to draw more than 1,500 people from around the world, including broad participation from key customers, suppliers, partners, industry analysts and media as well as the GLOBALFOUNDRIES leadership team. The Santa Clara event will kick off a series of GTC 2011 “Road Show” events to be held at other strategic international venues including:

  • September 14, Hsinchu, Taiwan
  • September 16, Shanghai, China
  • October 27, Tokyo, Japan

Each regional event features members of the GLOBALSOLUTIONSTM ecosystem of partners exhibiting proven, differentiated solutions in design enablement, mask services, assembly and test for the consumer, communications, computing and automotive sectors.

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Please visit the following Web site for details on the agenda, keynotes, exhibitions, demos and other features of the event: http://www.globalfoundries.com/gtc2011/.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Fabs in New York and Dresden Achieve “Ready for Equipment” Milestone

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2011 - 08:15 AM |
Tagged: new york, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, fab 8, fab 1, dresden, cleanroom

Milpitas, Calif. – July 12, 2011 – Just over one year after revealing plans for a major global capacity expansion, GLOBALFOUNDRIES today announced its newly constructed cleanrooms in New York and Dresden are ready for the installation of 300mm semiconductor wafer fabrication equipment. Achieving “Ready for Equipment” (RFE) status marks the transition from the construction phase to the operations phase—a significant milestone on the path to volume manufacturing in these new facilities.

“At GLOBALFOUNDRIES, we continue to invest aggressively in driving sustained growth on advanced technologies,” said GLOBALFOUNDRIES CEO Ajit Manocha. “The build-out of our 300mm manufacturing campuses in New York and Dresden is supporting growing customer demand for advanced technologies, while creating hundreds of jobs and providing a significant boost to the economies in the surrounding regions. By completing these massive construction projects on schedule and on budget, we are continuing to deliver on our commitment to being the only truly global foundry.”

At Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany, GLOBALFOUNDRIES has completed construction of an additional wafer manufacturing facility designed to add capacity at 45nm and below, which has the potential to increase the overall output of the Fab 1 campus to 80,000 wafers per month once fully ramped. The expansion project will add more than 110,000 square feet of cleanroom space to the site and will allow Fab 1 to operate as one integrated cleanroom. This extension will make Dresden the largest wafer fab in Europe for leading-edge technology.

At Fab 8, GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ newest semiconductor manufacturing facility under construction at the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County, New York, the RFE date was moved up by nearly two months to meet heavy customer demands. Last week, GLOBALFOUNDRIES moved into the facility’s Admin 1 office building and broke ground on the Admin 2 building. Once completed, Fab 8 will stand as the most technologically advanced wafer fab in the world and the largest leading-edge semiconductor foundry in the United States. When fully built-out and ramped, the total available cleanroom space will be approximately 300,000 square feet and will be capable of a total output of approximately 60,000 wafers per month. The total facility, including cleanroom support infrastructure and office space, includes approximately 1.9 million square feet of space and is expected to come online in 2012 with volume production targeted for early 2013. Fab 8 will focus on leading-edge manufacturing at 28nm and below.

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