GlobalFoundries becomes world's 2nd largest foundry
Subject: Processors | January 13, 2010 - 08:55 PM | Josh Walrath
Today GF (GLOBALFOUNDRIES) has announced that it has finished integrating with Chartered Semiconductor, and is now the 2nd largest foundry company in the world. Since the agreement with Intel that also netted AMD $1.25 billion, GF was able to be fully divested from AMD. This allowed ATIC (GF’s parent company and primary financier) to acquire Chartered Semiconductor with the purpose of combining its two foundry entities into one global company.
Chartered was able to bring in five 200 mm wafer fabs and one 300 mm wafer fab, while GF currently has Fab 1, is building Fab 8 in New York, and is converting Fab 1b to 300 mm bulk production. Currently the company expects to offer 1.6 million 300 mm wafers starts a year, and around 2.2 million 200 mm wafer starts a year once Fab 1b is fully converted.
In terms of process expertise, the two companies were surprisingly similar. A large part of this was due to AMD choosing Chartered to be a second source fab for AMD’s processors. As such, AMD had to get Chartered up to speed on SOI manufacturing at 65 nm. Previously Chartered was behind TSMC and UMC in terms of production capabilities and process technology. With the input from AMD, as well as technology partnerships with other manufacturers, Chartered was able to close that gap. With the combination of GF and Chartered, we can expect to see the company be able to offer a fully fleshed out lineup of manufacturing processes which will span from the cutting edge (28 nm HKMG) to older, but still productive processes (130 nm bulk).
The company has seen revenues in excess of $2 billion US in 2009, and expects that to improve through the next year. A big key to increased revenues will be the 28 nm and 32 nm processes from GF. AMD will have essentially a stranglehold on 32 nm SOI/HKMG production from GF, but the 28 nm HKMG process should be among the most profitable for the company. AMD’s graphics and chipset division look to heavily leverage that process once it becomes mature enough, and other companies such as NVIDIA who require cutting edge bulk process technology are soon to follow. While TSMC is only now achieving mature yields on their bulk 40 nm process, GF should be introducing their 28 nm HKMG to 3rd party fabless semiconductor firms in the beginning of 2H 2010.
GF recently showed off some finished 28 nm HKMG wafers at CES, and it was a bit of a surprise to those in attendance. The wafers were populated by what looked to be an actual product, rather than just test chips and SRAM cells. While GF would not comment on what the chip was, it looked to be about 500 mm squared in size, which would make it comparable in size to a 55 nm GeForce GTX 285. Showing off such a large chip essentially means that GF is getting very close to having a mature process to offer to select customers while production ramps.
GF is also keeping tight lipped about their 32 nm SOI/HKMG product, which is going to be the basis for AMD’s Fusion products (Phenom II + HD 5000 level graphics on one die), and perhaps more importantly, the upcoming Bulldozer and Bobcat cores. AMD is set to sample working Bulldozer silicon to select partners in the first half of this year, and there are those hinting that working silicon has been in AMD’s labs for some weeks now. It typically takes around a year from first working silicon to volume production of a CPU, and that is if everything goes fairly smoothly. If AMD is slightly above the curve, then we can expect the first Bulldozer chips to leak out to consumers around November, 2010.
With ATIC financing GF’s fab expansion, and daily operations, we can expect GF to aggressively pursue advanced technology and gaining new customers. ATIC and GF figure that if they are able to get leading edge technology well before the other foundry companies, then customers will eventually come. When combined with GF’s foundry services and APM (Advanced Process Manufacturing) software suite, customers can more fully customize their parts according to their needs, and have an active engineering force inside of GF to help them get their products off the ground. While having engineering staff on site at most foundries is common, GF is hoping to expand that relationship and allow GF’s engineers to enable a faster design process so products can get to manufacturing faster and with fewer issues.
TSMC and UMC are obviously none too happy to see such a competitor arrive on the scene. While these foundries have close working relationships with many fabless companies around the world, it is not unheard of for these partners to jump ship when things get rough, or someone has a better product line that will fit a customer’s needs that much more closely. With GF’s agreements with the folks who license out the ARM cores, we can expect to see GF get quite a bit of work from mobile devices utilizing ARM designs. Consider as well that they may very well have a year’s lead on 28 nm bulk and 28 nm low power processes, Fab 1 could be very busy within the next year fulfilling orders.
Sunnyvale, Calif. - January 13, 2010 - GLOBALFOUNDRIES today announced it has officially integrated operations with Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing started functioning as one company under the GLOBALFOUNDRIES brand. The announcement marks the emergence of the new GLOBALFOUNDRIES-the world's first full-service semiconductor foundry with a truly global manufacturing and technology footprint across Asia, Europe and the United States.
"As the world's leading chip design companies face increasing pressure to push the boundaries of innovation, they need a full-service foundry partner with the ability to invest and sustain an aggressive leading-edge technology roadmap while offering a full breadth of services," said Doug Grose, chief executive officer of GLOBALFOUNDRIES. "Thanks to the vision of our investors and months of dedicated work by teams across the globe, we have now created a new global company that leads the foundry market in advanced technology with unparalleled proximity to our customers and access to the world's best talent."
The combined company employs approximately 10,000 people around the world, anchored by headquarters in Silicon Valley and advanced manufacturing operations in Singapore; Dresden, Germany; and a new leading-edge fab under construction in Saratoga County, New York. These sites are supported by a global network of R&D, design enablement, and customer support in Singapore, China, Taiwan, Japan, the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
The new GLOBALFOUNDRIES immediately takes its position as one of the top semiconductor foundries in the world, with 2009 revenues to date for GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Chartered in excess of $2 billion. GLOBALFOUNDRIES launches with more than 150 customers across the semiconductor ecosystem, with plans to deepen existing relationships and to aggressively pursue new customers. Current customers include many of the world's top fabless and fab-lite companies, such as AMD, Qualcomm, STMicro and IBM.
"The entire premise of the foundry business is changing," said Dan Hutcheson, CEO of VLSI Research. "Foundry customers have made it clear that they are looking for deep collaboration with their foundry partners as opposed to a contract manufacturing service. With its history as part of a top Integrated Device Manufacturer (IDM) operating at the leading edge of technology, GLOBALFOUNDRIES is well positioned to drive fundamental transformation in the foundry business model."
GLOBALFOUNDRIES currently has five 200 mm fabs and one 300 mm fab in Singapore, as well as one leading-edge 300 mm fab complex in Dresden, Germany. To meet the demands of a growing customer base, the company has an aggressive capacity build-out plan, including expansion of Fab 1 in Dresden and Fab 7 in Singapore, as well as construction of a new leading-edge 300mm facility in Saratoga County, New York. The New York facility, which will be renamed as Fab 8, is on track to begin ramping initial production in 2012.
With these plans in place, global leading-edge capacity is expected to expand to 1.6 million 300mm wafers annually by 2014. This will be supplemented by 2.2 million 200mm wafers annually, offering customers the full spectrum of foundry technology from mainstream to the leading edge, for a total of 5.8 million 200mm equivalents.
"Until now, the world's largest fabless, fablite and integrated manufacturers have had no real alternative for an end-to-end manufacturing partner," said Chia Song Hwee, chief operating officer of GLOBALFOUNDRIES. "This new company has an incredible opportunity in front of us to not just offer an alternative, but become the preferred supplier for many of the world's top chip design companies. With advanced technology leadership, an aggressive capacity roadmap and a robust set of mainstream technologies and foundry services we are well equipped to compete and win against any other foundry in the industry."
The new GLOBALFOUNDRIES brings a broad array of leading edge technology capabilities and services to market. The company is the foundry industry leader in time-to-volume on 40/45nm technology and expects to repeat this accomplishment with 32nm and "Gate First" High-K Metal Gate technology. The company embraces a collaborative R&D approach that also extends to packaging, IP solutions, and design enablement, built on what the company calls its "Virtual IDM" approach.
GLOBALFOUNDRIES is the world's first full-service semiconductor foundry with a truly global manufacturing and technology footprint. Launched in March 2009 through a partnership between AMD [NYSE: AMD] and the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), GLOBALFOUNDRIES provides a unique combination of advanced technology, manufacturing excellence and global operations. With the integration of Chartered in January 2010, GLOBALFOUNDRIES significantly expanded its capacity and ability to provide best-in-class foundry services from mainstream to the leading edge. GLOBALFOUNDRIES is headquartered in Silicon Valley with manufacturing operations in Singapore, Germany, and a new leading-edge fab under construction in Saratoga County, New York. These sites are supported by a global network of R&D, design enablement, and customer support in Singapore, China, Taiwan, Japan, the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
For more information on GLOBALFOUNDRIES, visit www.globalfoundries.com