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Global Foundries announces 14nm process in partnetship with Samsung

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When it comes to competing in the CPU market, one of AMD’s big issues has been trying to get to the same process as Intel. Ever since the purchase of ATi by AMD they have always been one (and in some cases two) processes behind. What made this even worse was when AMD hit such bad financial times that they had to sell off their FABs just keep the lights on. They now had to deal with a fledgling foundry company that still had some of the same old managers. This has meant that even when AMD might have a design they were still going to be behind Intel when it came to performance per watt.

Now AMD is another customer and Global Foundries has had more room to maneuver. After buying out the remaining exclusive contract they had with AMD, GF has been making some of their own new partnerships including one very advantageous one with Samsung. Samsung, as a foundry, is really only second to Intel when it comes to their advanced processes. They have entered into a licensing agreement with GF so that they can start ramping up 14nm products. The first FAB to get this will be FAB 8 in New York.

So where does this leave AMD? Right now they have been focused on trying to get 20nm to work for their GPUs and with limited funds they might not be able to dedicate resources to move their designs to 14nm. They could very well miss the boat on this while others take advantage of GF’s new smaller process.

Now, before everyone gets all excited, there are some limitations on this new node. There is no cost savings by moving to this yet. While the major process is 14nm is would appear that they still use 20nm interconnects. It is an interesting mix of technologies, but you still should get a decent performance boost for the same power usage.

It will be interesting to see if AMD can quickly move to this new process for their CPUs and APUs. It could mean much more power efficient processors for them which could translate into more design wins and better cash flow... at least in theory. We will all have to wait and see on this one.

Sean Kalinich

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