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AMD Needs More 7nm Capacity Than GlobalFoundries Can Provide

May. 30, 2018 – 

We've discussed AMD's 7nm plans several times this year, including the company's decision to source its 7nm silicon for Vega's machine learning iteration from TSMC. As Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV) ramps up and begins to enter production, a number of foundries including TSMC, Samsung, GlobalFoundries, and Intel are pursuing their own strategies and introduction plans. One interesting tidbit in a recent report sheds a bit more light on AMD's 7nm plans and suggests we'll see the company pursuing dual-source strategy well into next year.

In an article at EETimes, GlobalFoundries admits using similar pitches and SRAM cells to TSMC's 7nm, precisely because it gives AMD more flexibility. The company's chief technologist, Gary Patton, told EET's Rick Merritt that AMD "will have more demand than we have capacity, so I have no issues with that." The same article also confirmed that AMD will provide its first 7nm chip with tapeout expected later this year. IBM hardware and other ASICs will follow in 2019.

When I toured GlobalFoundries earlier this year, the company spoke to the difference between its strategy for 7nm FinFET designs, where EUV is being introduced first, and its plans for fully depleted SOI (FD-SOI). Right now, GF offers fully depleted SOI at 22nm, with 12nm ramping up into full production. GF, however, made it clear that it's transitioning to FinFET technology nodes as a fast follower, while its focusing on building up its 22FDX and 12FDX as an industry differentiator – a unique capability that GF has and other companies don't.

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