Sunday, December 16, 2007

AMD Hints at 32nm Test Shuttles, Claims 45nm Samples Ready in January

AMD has had more than its share of problems over 2007 with possibly the worst issue being with its new Phenom and Opteron processors. With the current problems with AMD's K10 processors, now the question becomes, "Will AMD make its deadline for the next processor?"

ChannelWeb Network sat down for a phone interview with AMD Executive Vice President of the Computing Products Group Mario Rivas for some more information on the bug and how AMD plans to recover from the torrent of bad press that has resulted.

Rivas says that the bug started as an observation and it wasn’t until mid-November that it actually turned into a more serious bug. Rivas also said that the company tried to do BIOS workarounds and patches with a 90% success rate.

In a closing comment, Rivas details some heavy information about the company's next-process chips. "We have 45nm on the way. We will have initial samples also in January. I'm fairly confident that those puppies are going to boot, and then we can have a follow-up conference call and I'll tell you, 'The sucker is booting.'"

Typically, when a processor is first taped-out, a operating system boot is one of the markers of a successful design. Intel's 45nm Penryn, for example, loaded the Windows XP operating system on the first spin. 11 months later, the processor began shipping for volume.

According to AMD’s John Pellerin, director of logic technology and development, AMD plans to ramp production of 45nm high-k dielectric chips in the first half of 2008. Pellerin says that AMD is more concerned with finding customer applications for its processors rather that a process race with rival chip makers.

Pellerin said in an interview during the International Electron Device Meeting that AMD’s 32nm high-k parts were solidly in the development phase showing that AMD is already looking down the road and hoping to learn from the problems encountered with its early 45nm process.

Rivas closes, "We also have 32nm advance work in SRAMs, which as you know is the initial step. So we will be a fast follower again, and as long as we have architectural advantage, our 45nm will be as good as the other guy's 32nm."

Intel announced its 32nm test shuttle just three months ago in September 2007. If AMD does have a 32nm test shuttle already, the year differential for 45nm may shrink considerably with AMD's 2010 architecture launches.

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