Tuesday04 October 2022

Rumor says AMD moving to Samsung for 14nm GPUs

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Around 2013, AMD entered into an extended partnership with a group of companies to create the Heterogeneous Systems Architecture Foundation. These companies mostly ARM licensees and included Samsung, MediaTek, Texas Instruments (Ti), AMD, Imagination, Qualcomm, and even ARM themselves. The group was similar in nature to the one that AMD had with Motorola and Ti back before the Athlon processor came into existence. The partners were all working on technology and resource sharing to make programing for devices simpler. We also saw it as a chance for AMD to offset R&D costs and potentially enter into some beneficial agreements.

One of these deals could be that AMD will be moving away from Global Foundries and to Samsung. That is the current rumor out of Electronic Times. We do know that AMD has shown interest (great interest) in Samsung’s 14nm process and they have also cut down orders to existing foundry partner Global Foundries. What is not known is why AMD would move away from Global Foundries when they are planning to implement the same process that Samsung is using.

This last piece of the puzzle could be simply due to more favorable terms from Samsung due to the technology sharing agreement developed with the HSA foundation. If this is the case it would have to be a rather big cut in terms for AMD to move. One other possibility is that the interest is in 14nm for AMD’s GPUs and they (AMD) are spinning this off to a different foundry to further separate the core CPU business from the newly formed Radeon Technologies Group.

Again all of this is speculation and from “unnamed sources”. There might be evidence to support the move, but there are still some missing pieces in the logic behind this. In my opinion it is far more likely that AMD would stick with Global Foundries to avoid the problems inherent in switching a foundry than run the risk of delays in product launches at this juncture. If they make the jump to Samsung and either fail to meet a product launch or have a shortage it could be disastrous for them. Still over the last five years, AMD has made some less than smart moves…

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