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AMD fab ramp update

06 September 2007 | By Mark Osborne | Editor's Blog

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It has been some time since we covered manufacturing activity at AMD, with much of the news focused on the company's financial problems and delayed products.

Fab 36 is fine and dandy, based on our most recent review. Indeed, the fab is fully converted to 65nm production but perhaps more importantly is fully fitted out with a complete tool set.

Work is focused on ramping to full production, which explains the lack of wafer starts at Chartered at the moment!

Fab 30 could now be called Fab 38 as the first 300mm tools went in a week ago. This is probably the most interesting aspect of the news as I got the strong impression from AMD corporate that the capital spending reductions and high financial losses of late had forced the company to put the 300mm conversion on hold, certainly for the rest of this year!

So I was a little surprised to find that the work is still going ahead. The difference is that the rate of conversion has been toned down for cost reasons and full conversion schedules have yet to be agreed.

This throws cold water over financial analysts' claims that AMD is going fabless and sharing production at Fab 30/38, or indeed selling it off!

If demand for microprocessors improves in the third and fourth quarters and Fab 36 reaches 100 percent utilization rates, then Chartered could see orders increase in the second quarter of 2008.

Don't forget that Fab 30/38 is still in 200mm production and, based on the scheduled conversion extension, will be doing so for quite some time. So there will be plenty of 90nm MPUs available at cheap prices.

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