AMD also gave us a brief update on 45nm, stating that they have successfully produced a SRAM test wafer at 45nm.  It's very popular to produce a wafer full of SRAM chips as you're bringing up and validating any new process, since the circuits are simple enough to actually make the chips producable but complex enough to get useful feedback on your process from the test wafer. 

AMD's 45nm SRAM test wafer follows a little over 3 months after Intel demonstrated a similar 45nm test wafer.  The benchmark when producing a wafer of SRAM is how small you're able to produce each SRAM cell. At 45nm Intel was able to achieve a 0.346 square micron SRAM cell size compared to AMD's 0.370 square micron SRAM cells.  Intel's advantage in SRAM cell size is nothing new, as they have been doing so in previous process technologies as well.  The advantage in SRAM cell size is one reason why you often see Intel more eager to equip its CPUs with larger L2 caches; obviously with no on-die memory controller, Intel also often benefits much more from a larger L2 cache than AMD in the first place. 


Intel's 45nm SRAM test vehicle - 0.346 sq micron cell size

Today's update had nothing to do with Socket-AM2 or AMD's transition to DDR2, but we do have some news with regards to that as well.  As you've undoubtedly heard and maybe even seen elsewhere, AMD's AM2 platform has not been performing very well in development over these past couple of months.  Just before IDF, AM2 samples were still performing lower than their Socket-939 counterparts, which was beginning to worry us and AMD's parters a bit.  However we're excited to report that AM2 performance has finally started exceeding that of Socket-939.  The performance gains we've been hearing and seeing are generally 5% or lower at the same clock speeds using DDR2-800, but it's still very early.  The main point to take home is while the final verdict is still not out, AM2 is at least starting to look like more of an upgrade and not what we saw with Intel's DDR to DDR2 transition almost 2 years ago. 

There's still a lot that AMD does have to give us however, including a more specific roadmap of what comes after their DDR2 transition.  AMD's Phil Hester has publicly stated that once AM2 launches it will be more forthcoming with information on future architecture revisions, we can only hope so because over the past 12 months Intel has put the pressure on AMD to really start talking about the future.  

The good news today is that AMD is truly growing as a company.  By 2008 AMD hopes to be able to double its yearly shipments of microprocessors, and it's finally got manufacturing capacity to do just that.  For the past few years AMD has held technological and performance advantages over Intel, now it's time for AMD to play catchup on the manufacturing side.  AMD has a long way to go before being anywhere close to Intel's manufacturing abilities, but it is in a very good place today.

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  • coldpower27 - Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - link

    Which isn't surprising exact yield information is cirtical information to Intel and AMD. Hence they are careful to be very vague on the issue. Reply
  • rqle - Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - link

    any update to the The AM2 Story blog. would like to know where the performance level of am2 chipset w/ ddr2, hope for major in improvement over what you said in that blog. Reply
  • mesyn191 - Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - link

    He stated pretty clearly they're getting a approx. 5% performance increase at the same clock bd AM2 A64's, and that there may be other improvements as well. Reply
  • defter - Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - link

    quote:

    He stated pretty clearly they're getting a approx. 5% performance increase at the same clock


    He stated clearly that performance increase is 5% or LOWER using DDR2-800. This would indicate about 2-3% performance increase on average using DDR2-800 and 0-1% increase using DDR2-667.
    Reply
  • Ecmaster76 - Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - link

    "The parts that it is shipping are 90nm Athlon 64 and Sempron CPUs, so Opterons and Athlon 64 X2s will still come out of Fab 30 next door."

    Read: FAB 30 is handling the expensive/complex bins; FAB 36 is doing the cheap n easy parts while yields are being improved.

    "AMD cites customer demand as the reason that Athlon 64 and Sempron are first out of the new fab, which honestly makes sense; there's always need for more capacity at the lower end."

    Read:All the chips they can make are being sold as Opterons 'cause thats where the margins are. As a result the demand for cheap chips is being ignored. Therefore, more capacity == $$$$ (bank baby!)

    (long live 939!)
    Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - link

    AMD sells what market needs. Their purpose is to sell all the processors they can produce at the highest price they can. If they increase price, the market will buy less, and if that leaves them with warehouse surplus they are losing.
    They might "force" on the market the perception that the Opteron 939 chips are better than the Athlons64, as selling them is better overall (more $$$ for AMD)
    Reply
  • fikimiki - Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - link

    Because FAB30 is ramping 30,000 wspm and FAB36 is ramping up to 17,000wspm by the end of 2006. FAB36 wafers are LARGER (300mm) and Chatered Corp. will be doing 5000 wspm for AMD - this means ~2x more CPUs by the end of 2006.

    40% better transistor performance at 65nm means 3,8-4GHz CPU. How about that? :)
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - link

    The only true part here is that AMD's Fab 30 is having 30K WSPM on 200mm Wafers.

    AMDs Fab 36 is going to ramp up to 20K WSPM by 2008 on 300mm Wafers. That part is true. No idea where you pulled 17k WSPM by end of 2006 from.

    40% Better transistor performance doesn't equal a 40% increase in clock frequency, that is flat out absurd.
    Reply
  • Viditor - Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - link

    1. Chartered is at 2000wspm on 300mm and 50%+ yields on AMD processors by July.
    http://www.fabtech.org/index.php?option=content&am...">Fabtech article Since that is 300mm, it is equivalent to 4000wspm on 200mm. Chartered is expected to be at 18,000wspm by years end.
    http://techreport.com/onearticle.x/9688">Techreport
    2. Fab 30 is at 30,000wspm on 200mm and yields in the 60-80% range (rumour and based on statements in conference calls).
    3. Fab 36 is estimated to be at 26,000wspm by years end on 300mm (which is = 52,000wspm on 200mm). Even if they hit only HALF that number, that's still more than double last year's production for AMD by this year's end...
    Reply
  • Questar - Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - link

    Dude, you said three posts up that there aren't any estimates for production at fab 36, and here you said there are.

    Make up your mind.
    Reply

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