A little under 6 months ago AMD introduced their first 300mm 90nm manufacturing facility, called Fab 36.  The name of course comes from its existence 36 years after the founding of AMD, with the plant itself being located next to Fab 30 in Dresden, Germany. 

The grand opening of Fab 36 was mostly for media attention as the plant would not begin shipping revenue parts until Q1 of 2006.  That sometime is today as AMD has just announced that Fab 36 is finally shipping revenue parts.  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.  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. 


Although both Fab 30 and Fab 36 produce 90nm processors, Fab 30 uses smaller 200mm wafers while Fab 36 features an upgrade to 300mm wafers.  AMD says that yields on 300mm wafers coming out of Fab 36 are comparable to 200mm yields being produced at Fab 30. 

A 300mm 90nm wafer from Fab 36 

In terms of capacity, by 2008 AMD plans to be able to crank out 20,000 (300mm) wafers per month out of Fab 36 which would double its microprocessor production capacity to approximately 100M CPUs per year (thanks to larger wafers and smaller transistors).  For comparison, Fab 30 currently produces 30,000 (200mm) wafers per month. Unfortunately AMD was unable to provide us with any sort of guidance as to how quickly Fab 36 will ramp up to its 20K per month target. AMD's partnership with Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. out of Singapore will guarantee additional 90nm production capacity beginning in the second half of this year.  By the end of this year, AMD's capacity will have increased tremendously over the single fab they had producing 90nm parts previously. 

As we mentioned in our initial coverage of Fab 36's grand opening, all parts shipping out of the plant will be 90nm, with AMD converting to 65nm starting in the second half of this year.  Fab 36 will be "substantially converted" to 65nm manufacturing by the middle of 2007.  Once again, AMD wasn't able to provide us with any sort of concrete details about the ramp to 65nm. It could very well be that AMD will be shipping lots of revenue generating 65nm parts by the end of this year, or they could be shipping very little. If the latter is true, then AMD's real transition to 65nm won't occur until far into 2007. When it does happen however, the move to 65nm will bring about smaller die sizes, faster switching transistors and lower power consumption for AMD, just as it has for Intel.  AMD's 65nm process will incorporate their third generation of SOI technology to further reduce power consumption.  AMD is promising a 40% increase in transistor performance with the move to 65nm thanks to the smaller process and the third generation SOI technology.

Fab 36 in Action

45nm and Socket-AM2


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  • Calin - Wednesday, April 5, 2006 - link

    Yes, AMD's stock might go down some - and Intel's stock might go up. By the improvements they have now for the AM2 socket and DDR2, I think AMD won't stomp all over Intel this time - and might even be at a performance disadvantage. Even if Intel gets to equal performance with AMD, it will be a hit against AMD (but maybe not so much for Intel).
    So, it might be good to sell AMD stocks and wait for a better time - some time before AMD transition to 65nm. Buying Intel... I wouldn't
  • Griswold - Wednesday, April 5, 2006 - link

    I would be worried (if I had any AMD stocks) if Intel actually had something on the server front to compete. It doesnt matter what woodcrest looks like in 6-9 months, customers in the corporate server world arent early adopters. They will stick to Opterons and netburst Xeons for at least a year. This is where AMD sees their biggest profit gain in the next few years - and rightfully so.

    And while I cant stand the Inquirer, if its true that the K8L core for the Opteron sports twice the FPU units, woodcrest might indeed have more than just one problem to be competitive in quite a few server business segments.

    With that said, if Opteron sales keep growing, AMDs shares wont likely go down. They might not keep going up as they did over the last years, even if AMD has no good answer to conroe anytime soon. But thats just the desktop market, which has taken the backseat on their priority list some time ago, in favor of server and mobile segments.
  • Calin - Thursday, April 6, 2006 - link

    Yes, I guess a big part of AMD production capacity could be absorbed into the server/workstation market, where prices are the greatest (and profits too). I don't know the ratio between workstation/server market and desktop market, but especially considering the decrease in desktop market (in favor of laptop), AMD really can leave the desktop market undefended.
    They will have a hard time competing in the low power laptop market - even if in the high performance laptop market they are doing fine.
  • phaxmohdem - Tuesday, April 4, 2006 - link

    Or you could dump it into GM. I hear they're doing well ;) Reply
  • DSaum - Tuesday, April 4, 2006 - link

    Since your so called conroe review where you showed your Intel bias, why do you expect AMD to tell you anything substantive about their plans or processes?
  • coldpower27 - Tuesday, April 4, 2006 - link

    Just because they showed AMD in a really unfaouvrable doesn't mean their Intel biased. It means AMD has to get it's ass up and actually try to compete for a change. Not just sit their charging tons of money for their Dual Cores. Reply
  • Viditor - Wednesday, April 5, 2006 - link


    Not just sit their charging tons of money for their Dual Cores

    Huh? Their Dual cores are cheap! If you compare price/performance to Intel, they are only a fraction of the cost...
    Just because AMD doesn't make super-low-end Dual Cores is no reason to call the ones they make expensive...
    While this may change (or not) at a future date, it certainly is the case now.
  • Questar - Thursday, April 6, 2006 - link

    No, they are not cheap.

    PD 805 is $110 - retail with HSF.

    What's AMD got that cheap? A Sempron?
  • Viditor - Thursday, April 6, 2006 - link


    What's AMD got that cheap? A Sempron?

    Yes, exactly...a Sempron that most assuredly outperforms the 805. Of course that wouldn't be the case for the few who overclock, but they are a miniscule portion of the market.
    Dual core doesn't always mean faster...
  • Questar - Friday, April 7, 2006 - link

    Yeah, a Sempron can out perform a dual core P4.

    Dude, statements like that just destroy your credibility.
    You should give it a rest.

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