After 24 months of construction, today AMD's first 300mm semiconductor fab, Fab 36, celebrates its grand opening. Built adjacent to AMD's 200mm Fab 30 in Dresden, Germany, Fab 36's grand opening takes place 6 years after Fab 30's introduction. The name Fab 36 comes from its existence 36 years after the founding of AMD.

The announcement for Fab 36's site in Dresden came in November 2003, with first ground breaking at the end of that month. Approximately 12 months later, the building was ready for equipment, and another 12 months after that, Fab 36 began preparations for mass production.

Over 150 members of the press enter AMD's press conference at Fab 36 in Dresden

Unfortunately, at its grand opening, Fab 36 is still a 90nm-only fab; throughout the next year, AMD will begin the transition to 65nm production. The first CPUs built at Fab 36 will be shipping in the first quarter of 2006, with the first 65nm chips leaving Fab 36 by the end of 2006.

Sometime in 2007 AMD will have performed a "substantial amount" of the transition of Fab 36 to a 65nm semiconductor fab, bringing the grand total for the cost of Fab 36 to an astounding 2.5 billion US dollars. There is no word when Fab 36 will be completely converted to 65nm manufacturing.

By 2008, Fab 36 will be able to produce more than 2x the number of processors as Fab 30 (potentially 100M processors per year based on current die sizes).

The first 300mm wafer produced at Fab 36 actually took place back in March, but preparation for mass production continues up to and beyond today. Today's grand opening of Fab 36 marks a huge step in AMD history, as it will hopefully alleviate a number of the supply issues they have been plagued with in recent history.

The two individuals in the middle kicked off the day at Fab 36, AMD's CEO, Dr. Hector Ruiz is the second on the left, and VP/GM of AMD Dresden, Dr. Hans Deppe is to the right of Dr. Ruiz.

The day started off with a press conference kicking off the grand opening of the fab. Below we've got a picture of a clean room engineer (or someone dressed as one) posing with AMD's Dr. Hans Deppe, the Corporate VP and General Manager of AMD in Dresden.

While we don't have a 200mm wafer here to compare sizes with, imagine the wafer pictured above, but smaller.

After some brief words about the opening of Fab 36, a brief Q&A period started. One of the first questions was what will happen to Fab 30 in the future now that Fab 36 is ready to start mass production. Dr. Ruiz mentioned that Fab 30 could be used for more x86 microprocessor production, it could potentially become a chipset manufacturing fab (possibly indicating AMD's intentions to eventually return to chipset manufacturing), or it could be upgraded to future semiconductor technologies for use in the future (e.g. 65nm).

One other important question that was asked was "why Dresden" for Fab 36, to which the answer was obviously multi-faceted:

1) First and foremost, AMD has invested a lot in the people of Dresden, when it comes to training and expertise in semiconductor manufacturing. It was simply easier to leverage the existing human investment.

2) Obviously government subsidies played a large role in AMD's decision to bring Fab 36 to Dresden. Dr. Hans Deppe listed the total amount of government subsidies for Fab 36 as 500 million US dollars.

The final question of the press conference was about AMD's future fab plans, which Dr. Ruiz answered with a timeframe of 2008 for the start of production on the next major fab plant.

AMD Draws a Crowd: German Chancellor Schröder Arrives
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  • JarredWalton - Saturday, October 15, 2005 - link

    Jarred needs to not use the word "though" as much. That's what happens when you post without proper proofing.... *grumble*
  • coldpower27 - Friday, October 14, 2005 - link

    Well said:)

    Well with Fab 36 coming online, this and AMD's Fab 30 are AMD's only fabs for CPU production so you can basically say regarding the CPU market AMD only has 2 90nm Fabs, 1 with 200mm Wafer tech and 1 with 300mm Wafer tech.

    Well let me see Intel currently has Fab D1C, D1D, 11x, 24 that I know of currently that are on 90nm & 300 mm Wafer production. Intel is also converting Fab 18 for 90nm production on 200mm Wafers.

    For 65nm production, Intel is converting existing 90nm D1D which is 300mm Wafer. Plus 2 more Fabs for 65nm production which are Fab 12 & 24-2 also with 300 mm Wafers

    Intel also has Fab 17, 20 & 22 for 130nm production with 200mm Wafers.

    Intel & AMD both have auxilirary Fabs for other productions such as flash memory for example.

    But suffice it to say, Intel currently commands far more capacity then AMD does.

    In the last year for Intel & AMD their gross incomes were 34.2 Billion vs 5 Billion.

    Yeah I also dislike when people say general statements like AMD 130nm products are better then 90nm products, as it won't hold for all cases.
  • Griswold - Friday, October 14, 2005 - link

    Oh joy, 65nm and a inferior design vs. 90nm with a superior design and later on the same at 65nm. Thats not nearly as disappointing as what intel fed us over the last 2 years.
  • trooper11 - Friday, October 14, 2005 - link

    what is so dissapointing here?

    amd was later to the 90nm game then intel, but you dont see it hurting them much at all?

    hey if I have to wait an extra 6 months for 65nm that will be as much a success as the 90nm parts, then im more then happy with this.
  • KristopherKubicki - Friday, October 14, 2005 - link

    The first 65nm chips are slated for January, but you wont see a full transition particularly in the server sector till the middle of next year. This time next year they won't have any 90nm chips if their roadmaps are correct.

  • Questar - Friday, October 14, 2005 - link

    The AMD press release disagrees with your timeline:

    With the production ramp in Fab 36 progressing on schedule, the company intends to make 90nm production shipments in the first quarter of 2006 and begin 65nm production by the end of 2006. AMD has set a goal to be substantially converted to 65nm in Fab 36 by mid-2007.
  • Questar - Friday, October 14, 2005 - link

    Whoops, I just realized you were talking about Intel roadmaps.

    I suck.
  • coldpower27 - Friday, October 14, 2005 - link

    Isn't he refering to Intel? Regarding the Presler processors?
  • Questar - Friday, October 14, 2005 - link

    That's a direct quote, I forgo to add the quote marks :(
  • DAPUNISHER - Friday, October 14, 2005 - link

    With the ability to supply a much larger percentage of the market in the relatively near future, perhaps Dell&AMD will finally be able to do business?

    The litigation against Intel may prove beneficial, even without a favorable ruling, if it prevents Intc from leaning on Dell to remain exclusive. Certainly, they should continue to be able to provide very aggressive pricing to Dell, but without any potentially heavy-handed conditions/terms attached.

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