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For AMD Success Means Problems

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the too-much-money dept.

193

An anonymous reader writes "AMD's success with its dual-core Opteron and Athlon processors has created something of a happy problem for the company. It can't make its products fast enough to meet demand. Just the same, with the Intel price war heating up and new 65-nanometer manufacturing technology being implemented in its factories, AMD has a lot of balls in the air right now." From the News.com article: "AMD's current pickle is the result of its success, which makes it a little easier to swallow for company executives. Demand is high, but the company's dual-core processors still use its 90-nanometer manufacturing technology. Intel's chips, on the other hand, are built using the smaller transistors provided by its 65-nanometer manufacturing technology. Not only is AMD using larger transistors, but its dual-core Opteron and Athlon 64 processors contain two processing cores integrated onto a single piece of silicon, or a die. This design has given AMD great performance during the past few years, but resulted in processors that were almost twice the size of its single-core chips."

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I hate it when... (4, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598634)

I hate it when my balls are in the air.

If I had a nickel... (0, Redundant)

MyEyesTheyBurn (908621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598684)

...for every time I heard that...

Re:If I had a nickel... (2, Funny)

painQuin (626852) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599746)

would you have 1 nickel?

Re:I hate it when... (0, Offtopic)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598702)

What good are balls in the air, when they've insufficient balls to release the specs and/or the driver source?

Balls in the air? What about balls in your face? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16598800)

It is my thing to have Bill Cosby and Willy Wonka at the same time.

Re:I hate it when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16598884)

I was hoping the first comment would be on that line.

Re:I hate it when... (-1, Offtopic)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599006)

And yet I get modded "troll"... I guess there isn't a "fucking obvious" mod. Is "balls in the air" an expression somewhere? I've never heard that before. I presume it is a juggling reference.

Re:I hate it when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16599354)

It's a fairly common expression in Sweden.

Re:I hate it when... (0, Offtopic)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599724)

Hålla många bollar i luften.

Re:I hate it when... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599396)

"Balls in the air" was chosen because everyone has seen juggling; it supersedes "irons in the fire" because most people think that hamburgers grow on trees.

Re:I hate it when... (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599616)

Yes, it is a reference to juggling. It means having more things going on then you can handle.

Re:I hate it when... (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16601030)

[insert phrase of choice regarding porn and only having two hands here]

Re:I hate it when... (3, Funny)

nschubach (922175) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598892)

Both quotes are laced with falic symbology:
"AMD has a lot of balls in the air right now."

"AMD's current pickle[...]"

"[...]makes it a little easier to swallow[...]"

Oblig. Boondock Saints (2, Funny)

MrSquishy (916581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599310)

Symboligy? I think the word you're looking for is "symbolism"

Re:Oblig. Boondock Saints (4, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599420)

Symboligy? I think the word you're looking for is "symbolism"

He lost me at "falic".

Re:Oblig. Boondock Saints (1)

bdonalds (989355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599972)

seeing the terms "symboligy" and "falic" does NOT make me feel like Riverdancing....

Re:Oblig. Boondock Saints (1)

nowhere.elysium (924845) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600414)

That would be "phallic" - to whit, indicative of the penis.
I haven't the slighest clue why (s)he's so tuned into it, though: the word 'pickle' is not overly representative of Freudian imagery.

Re:Oblig. Boondock Saints (1)

Phu5ion (838043) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600952)

That would be "phallic" - to whit, indicative of the penis.

Are you an expert in... nameology

Re:Oblig. Boondock Saints (1)

Fallen Mongoose (982517) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600776)

Isn't Symbology that crazy religion that Tom Cruise follows?

Re:I hate it when... (1)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598908)

Obligatory Beavis and Butthead quote:

"hehe... he said balls"

Re:I hate it when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16600224)

"I hate it when my balls are in the air."

Better there than a rock and a hard-place.

heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16598650)

balls in the air.

Does size matter? (1, Insightful)

Riley Holmes (1017846) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598678)

As long as the processor fits inside of the PC case, I don't see why the bulkier size matters. If the performance is superior, it just doesn't make a difference.

Re:Does size matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16598708)

Size is heat, my friend, size is heat.

Re:Does size matter? (4, Insightful)

OwnedByTwoCats (124103) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598744)

For AMD, a bigger die per chip means fewer chips per wafer.

Which is a problem, when you can't manufacture enough to meet demand.

Re:Does size matter? (0, Offtopic)

mnmn (145599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598970)


So right now building a new fab is at its most profitable?

How can we run out of silicon? Its in the sand. How come China isnt coming out with mountains of pure silicon for sale if the demand has been this good for this many years?

Re:Does size matter? (4, Informative)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599074)

It means more than that...

First, you are correct. If you get more chips per wafer, you can make more chips. Since the time to process 1 wafer remains consant. However, there is also more going on.

The second thing to worry about is the cost. If it costs (making up numbers) $100 to process a wafer and you get 10 chips, it is $10 to manufacture 1 chip. If you get 20 chips from the wafer, then it only costs $5 to manufacture 1 chip.

The third item is quality control. If there are any flaws in the wafer, the chip that is created over that flaw can not be used. So that chip gets thrown out. If we can get more chips from a single wafer, our percentage yield increases as well. Imagine that there is 1 flaw per wafer. If we only get 1 chip per wafer our actual yield is 0%. This would be very bad. Now imagine we get 2 chips per wafer. While it is possible that the flaw would affect both chips, most likely it will only affect 1, giving a yield of 50%. If you get 3 chips, your yield is 66%. This yield really hits the bottom line.

If you are losing 2-3 chips per wafer from flaws, then any increase in the number of chips is going to increase your yield percentage. If you call it a 25% increase in chips on a wafer, due to the 65nm instead of 90nm process, the percentage of chips lost to flaws will also go down and you just made more money.

Re:Does size matter? (4, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599128)

Actually, it's not a problem at all. It's a good thing. If AMD were already producing 45nm chips, and they were twice the size and slower than Intel's solution, THAT would be a problem. When you are doing well enough that you are outselling your ability to produce, and you still have not yet implemented your already developed technology, you are in a very good position.

Re:Does size matter? (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599254)

But you know you are a sound company and you buy up all that cheap stock and make huge profits once the manufacturing issues are worked out.

Cost too (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599474)

Cost per square inch is reasonably constant across processes. If you can pack in more devices per area you save cost.

Re:Does size matter? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16599612)

This really begs the question. I'm sure there's a reason somewhere but...
Why DO they use round wafers to create the chips from. Certainly there would be less waste with square wafers (though less and less so as the chips get smaller and smaller, of course). Are there other savings in the manufacturing process that make round wafers more cost efficient in the grand scheme of things than square ones?

Re:Does size matter? (2, Informative)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598774)

You don't really understand how they make chips, do you?

It costs $X to make a wafer of CPU's. The more CPU's you get from that wafer, the cheaper each CPU costs. Large CPU Dies means fewer CPU's per wafer, thus high cost per wafer. Thus, each CPU die has a higher cost to manufacture than smaller dies.

Re:Does size matter? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16598916)

It is also worse than that.

The larger the die the lower the yield.

Taken to the extremes, assume a huge die. A single defect and you lose the entire wafer.

On a super tiny 100 dies/wafer a single defect only takes out 1%.

Of course on large dies, you might have small pieces of redundancy built in (all memory has this) so you can recover from some number of defects before you have to scrap it.

But still, the larger the die, the fewer you can make at a time and the lower the yield on the ones you do churn out.

Re:Does size matter? (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599390)

Yes, a larger chip definitely has disadvantages, but the doubling of size is unavoidable when doubling what is in there. WHat did they expect, 2 cores taking as little space as a single core?

It's the heat, stupid! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16598786)

(see subject)

Re:Does size matter? (4, Informative)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598824)

1. Larger size = fewer chips per wafer

2. Larger size = higher average chance of defect per die

3. Larger size = more expensive to manufacture per processor

So you see, size DOES matter :)

Re:Does size matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16599548)

"Does size matter?"

Must...resist...obvious...jokes...

Motherboard makers may end up having to reduce the footprint of big cpus by turning sockets on their sides or lifting them above the board using mushroom shaped pillars. You'd have to be careful about putting heavy coolers on them.

Re:Does size matter? (3, Informative)

JimTheCactus (896667) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600000)

Actually, for manufacturers, size matters in a big way.

Semiconductor manufacturing is, like with most manufacturing, an imperfect process. In general, for a given die (a die is one "chip" before it's placed in/on any kind of case) and a given manufacturing method there is going to be a manufacturing error rate that is measured in terms of errors per unit area.

These defects can stem from everything from a speck of dust getting into the system, all the way to a gas depositing process making a trace too thin (so the trace, and thus the chip, burns up during use.)

Therefore the bigger the die is the higher the likelihood that any one die will contain one of these manufacturing defects. Since a defect can occur at any point on the wafer, the less of the wafer that can be associated with any particular common point of failure (i.e. the smaller the die,) the more valuable any particular wafer can be and thus increase yield and profit of that product.

ATI purchase (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16598700)

For what it's worth, AMD also finalized the purchase of ATI today for $5.4 billion USD. I submitted that earlier, but I guess it was rejected in favor of the multitude of droll game postings today.

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16598722)

I, for one, welcome our new Intel 65-nanometer overlords!

Re:I for one... (3, Informative)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598844)

Thing is, Intel is already shipping 45nm chips, though 45nm CPU's won't be shipping for a while yet. It's already working on sub-45nm technology.

Apple (3, Insightful)

Gotung (571984) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598740)

To all those AMD fanboi's that cried "Why not AMD"? when Apple choose Intel, this is why.
 
Disclaimer: I have nothing against AMD, I like there fact there is healthy competition in the chip world. Makes for better/faster/cheaper products for us consumers.

Re:Apple (4, Interesting)

binary paladin (684759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598802)

Bah, I was hoping with only like three posts up I could be the first to mention that. My PCs use AMD processors almost exclusively and I have been using AMD since my bloody 286. My main work machine, however, is now a Mac (a PPC one currently).

Since Apple first announced Intel I thought that it was pretty obvious why they went that route rather than AMD. This, right here, was one of the main reasons. Supply programs have haunted Apple for quite some time. Why switch to a new architecture just to get more of the same?

Re:Apple (2, Interesting)

toddestan (632714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599954)

Supply programs have haunted Apple for quite some time. Why switch to a new architecture just to get more of the same?

Except that it wouldn't be the same. Apple was dependent on Motorola and later IBM because they were the only suppliers of the PPC chips they needed for the Mac. However, since AMD and Intel both make x86 chips that function the same, they wouldn't be dependent on AMD if they went that route because they could switch over to Intel chips at any time without much trouble (and vice-versa I suppose - Apple could switch over to AMD right now if they wanted to).

Re:Apple (2, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600402)

Except they'd also have to use different motherboards, since the sockets and chipsets aren't compatible, and sometimes the memory isn't either, as before AMD switched to socket AM2. Better for them to have a single supplier, and Intel's the one with fab capacity (and a better chip, finally).

Re:Apple (0, Troll)

certain death (947081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598848)

Really...Like the 50 computers Apple has sold with Intel inside would really make a difference. NOOOOOOOOO!!! Not Flame bait!!!

Re:Apple (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599148)

At least do a good job... Apple was like the #4 PC maker in the US last quarter. Make fun of Apple users if you want a flame war.

Re:Apple (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599322)

HAHA!! Thanks for the info there, I will keep that in mind the next time I require flamage :o)

Re:Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16599378)

Why the fuck did someone throw away mod points on an obviously "funny" post, or at least an attempt as such?

It was a fucking joke. If you don't find it funny, it does not mean it was a troll post, nor flamebait. It just means you did not find it funny. It's not like he called Jobs a racial epithet, or claim "only fags would use macs" or something equally deserving of a troll moderation.

Idiots. Stop throwing away mod points. Go mod up a more worthwhile post, please, and don't mod posts like this down. Some of us actually LIKE Macintoshes and still found it funny.

Re:Apple (2, Informative)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598866)

Yup, this was one of those "bullet point" items why Apple went with Intel over AMD. Only Intel (and IBM) have the kind of manufacturing capacity that Apple needs in order to keep the supply chain moving while still providing to other customers. It would/will take many many years of constant fab building for AMD to compete with Intel on production scale.

Re:Apple (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600408)

It would/will take many many years of constant fab building for AMD to compete with Intel on production scale.
You realize that when AMD moves from 90 to 65, they're going to get ~25% increase in yield? (possibly less, since more chips = more potential defects)

AMD has been using the previous generation of fabbing & is still strongly competing with Intel.

I just hope AMD has a better transition plan for the 65nm to 40nm switch, which will most likely be the industry's final step down in size.

Re:Apple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16598880)

As if Apple sells enough computers that it would really matter anyway...

Re:Apple (2, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599224)

As if Apple sells enough computers that it would really matter anyway...

Hmm, Apple's US market share is about 5%. AMD's US market share is about 18%. So had Apple gone with AMD, they would be accounting for about 1/4 of AMD's sales in the PC market. That would almost certainly make Apple AMD's largest customer.

Re:Apple (0)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599196)

Dell, too. You can see why they might have been hesitant to go with AMD.

Re:Apple (3, Insightful)

jo42 (227475) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600286)

I'd hazard to guess that AMD is in this situation because of Dell...

Re:Apple (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599238)

Sure, especially when you consider that one of the problems Apple had with IBM/Motorola is that they were always in short supply of chips. Apple was constantly delayed in releasing new models because their processor suppliers weren't meeting their estimates.

Re:Apple (1)

Niebieski (781986) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599532)

Another reason they went to Intel instead of AMD is also power i.e. performance per watt), an area in which Intel had a better roadmap than AMD (and obviously IBM)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Intel_transitio n [wikipedia.org]

Re:Apple (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600640)

> To all those AMD fanboi's that cried "Why not AMD"? when Apple choose Intel, this is why.

Wrong. Had Apple signed AMD to supply them they would have certainly been in a position to have demanded first dibs on production. Seeing as there is zero likelyhood of Apple consuming the entirety of AMD's fab capacity......

Apple would have went with Intel regardless of quality of the good, delivery problems or anything else. Apple isn't about hardware or software or even technology, they sell a brand experience. To do that any subcomponent that is seen by the buying public as a seperately branded item must also be perceived as a 'premium' brand. Intel has spent billions creating that impression in the general public while AMD has courted the tech savvy customer.

Think of Apple as more like Nike. Like Apple, Nike does R&D and innovates in their products, but that ISN'T what they are selling. Same with Apple, they are selling the brand, not individual products. The Nike swoosh increases the value of a baseball cap, obviously there isn't anything 'better' about it other than the logo itself. Apple hasn't quite managed that feat... yet.

Re:Apple (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600686)

To all those AMD fanboi's that cried "Why not AMD"? when Apple choose Intel, this is why.


Also, the fact that the Core 2 crushes AMD's chips while consuming less power, which was probably the most important factor. The Powerbooks were dying for a processor upgrade.

Balls in the air? (-1, Offtopic)

Drel (1281) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598742)

Let's think outside the box and come up with a new paradigm.

*retch*

Re:Balls in the air? (2, Funny)

MyEyesTheyBurn (908621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598804)

Obviously we are outside the box if our balls are in the air.

Re:Balls in the air? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599556)

Obviously we are outside the box if our balls are in the air.

This reminds me of a joke I read once about a guy named Dolcetti. Dolcetti's banging his old lady on the kitchen floor when suddenly he starts screaming and really thrashing around like a madman.

"What's the problem?", says she. "Are you trying to get your balls in?"

"No!" screams Dolcetti, "I'm trying to get them out!"

It was a lot funnier when I read it than when I typed it. Must have been a long time ago.

No wonder AMD is having problems... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16598784)

From the News.com article: "AMD's current pickle ..."
Well, *No wonder* AMD is having problems... they should NOT be making pickles, they should be making chips!

TDz.

Re:No wonder AMD is having problems... (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599368)

You mean Dill chips?

No Matter What... (3, Insightful)

hurting now (967633) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598812)

the consumer wins. I was an AMD fan boy for the past few years, but like a true Chicago fan, I am rooting for the other team because they are up. AMD may strike back again, maybe not, but this price war has really benefited many of us.

Re:No Matter What... (3, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599506)

No kidding. Thanks to the price war I scored a 2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo really cheap, and have it happily overclocked at 3.06Ghz. I wanted to go AMD, but I didn't because:

1. They are no longer cost-effective in comparison to Core 2

2. Compatibility issues; athough the chipset I chose is not 100% supported on the kernel rev I'm running, it's still a far sight better than getting an ATI or NForce chipset to run acceptably well. Also, The AMD-ATI merger does not bode well for Linux users, given ATI's abysmal track record. I refuse to buy ATI products and am now avoiding AMD until I see whether or not ATI cleans up its act. (insert a rabid "fuck ATI" right about here)

3. at stock clock speeds, it is 80% faster (according to benchmarks) than the Pentium D I sometimes use at the office, and well over 100% faster than the Pentium 4 (the other box) my primary box at the office. At 3.06Ghz, it's (obviously) much faster than even that. :)

I wanted to go AMD, I really did, but with Intel's quad core processor coming out Real Soon Now and with my board's already being certified to run it, it was the logical choice. Quad core upgradability was the clincher.

Re:No Matter What... (2, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16601132)

Also, The AMD-ATI merger does not bode well for Linux users, given ATI's abysmal track record. I refuse to buy ATI products and am now avoiding AMD until I see whether or not ATI cleans up its act. (insert a rabid "fuck ATI" right about here)

Naively, since AMD, the larger company, bought ATI I would figure AMD's culture of openness would dominate. At least, I hope this is the case, because I'm sick of having only one choice for graphics cards (though I'm used to it; ever since 3dfx).

Anyway, it doesn't seem fair to refuse to buy AMD's processors (as opposed to graphics cards/chips) because of ATI's poor linux support when AMD has been a huge supporter of free software, in particular of gcc and to a lesser extent the Linux kernel.

Though I will still not buy AMD/ATI (or DAAMIT as the Inquirer calls it) graphics products until they do actually improve. And I will continue buying AMD processors until they start becoming more like ATI.

History repeats itself (3, Interesting)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598832)


AFAIK, this has always been AMDs problem: my earliest recollection is when they bought NexGen's K6 and sold it to Compaq in the sub-$1000 segment in 1995. Since then, anytime the get a good product, they blow it on production, leaving Intel to fill the void they created.

It is where they have failed again and again and again. I can't believe they haven't learned yet.

Re:History repeats itself (1)

zensonic (82242) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599056)

they blow it on production, leaving Intel to fill the void they created

It's a bit harsh to say that they blow it on production. You do realize how much it costs to construct cleanrooms, right? All while still being profitable and pour lots of money into R&D.

I think they are playing their cards to the best of their abilities.

Re:History repeats itself (1)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599894)

I'm well aware of the costs of a fab.

Well, they have a ton of fab capacity coming onlin in the next 18-24 months. Dresden was largely due to their K7 success, but it takes years to make a fab: they planned dresden 5~7 years ago.

Re:History repeats itself (2, Informative)

Libertarian001 (453712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599058)

Increased supply requires increased production capabilities, which more or less requires a new fab (factory) being built. No, generally you can not just add additional tools to an existing factory. Nor can you just make your workers work harder/faster. Most of the steps in the process are automated and require definite process times. So it's going to cost you. A state of the art fab today runs ~$4-5 Billion. It also takes well over a year to bring it up to full production status (depending on how many tools you have. Intel's Fab 12 had 60 diffusion furnaces, Fab 22 across the street had 38). And that's part of the problem. A fab doesn't make money unless it is running at capacity.

I worked AT (not FOR) Intel for 3 years.

Re:History repeats itself (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599206)

Tell it to the investors who withdraw funding when demand goes up and they need to put more fabs online to meet it. Demand is up, but margins are down. So is the stock price. There goes the money to build new fabs.

It's all about capitalization. Not being able to meet the captital requirements of an excess of success is the second most common cause of business failure. Outright stupidity only comes in at number three.

KFG

Re:History repeats itself (1)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599576)

...or do a better job with managing profits.

Can't blame the investors for a company's failure to supply customers.

Re:History repeats itself (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600024)

Can't blame the investors for a company's failure to supply customers.

Yes, you can. Why? Because they are often the cause.

Why do you think they call it "capitalism"?

KFG

Re:History repeats itself (1)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600298)

Um, what?

Stay in school, kid.

Re:History repeats itself (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600992)

Um, what?

Horticulture.

KFG

How long? (1)

MyEyesTheyBurn (908621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598924)

How long before we can expect a 5-nanometer based CPU?

Re:How long? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16599104)

When you suck cock you intel fanboi FAG!!!

- Wolf Bearclaw

Re:How long? (2, Funny)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599164)

Screw that. They'll come out with 5nm, then right after I buy it, they'll announce their 900pm chip.

Re:How long? (1)

Libertarian001 (453712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600064)

IIRC...

45nm in 2009
33nm in 2012
25nm in 2015
12nm in 2018

I don't remember plans for sub-12nm, but I'd assume it'd be about the same 3-year cycle...

9nm in 2021
6nm in 2024 ...and that's assuming we don't hit any physical limitations. Power leakage is going to continue to be a major problem for the near future. Intel's 3D transistors should help quite a bit. But we'll see.

Not new (4, Insightful)

cheezedawg (413482) | more than 7 years ago | (#16598982)

This is not a new problem for AMD. They have always had problems keeping up with demand, and they have been capacity constrained for a few years now, and they have nobody to blame but themselves.

That's the dirty little secret about the semiconductor industry- success depends just as much on manufacturing ability as the features of the chip. Intel didn't just get their 300mm wafers and 65nm process overnight- they invested 10s of billions of dollars in manufacturing R&D. The result is they have unparalleled capacity and a huge technological lead over competitors with manufacturing technology. When a large OEM comes asking for 5 million units in the next quarter with a defect rate of less than 500 per million, there are very few companies that can deliver.

Re:Not new (5, Interesting)

Dastardly (4204) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599324)

Yep, that huge technological lead of a few months. This is the first time since really K5 that AMD has had production issues. And, the production issues described in the article are really the good kind. The early ones were the bad kind where the chip design itself caused the production problems. The good kind is where yields are good, speeds are good and the design is manufacturable. Your only issue is figuring out how to push more die through the line.

Fab 36 will be online soon with 300mm wafers and 65nm. Just going to 300mm wafers pretty much doubles capacity. Going to 65nm gets you another say 50% (anyone got a confirmed number). Getting FAB 36 and FAB 30 going doubles capacity again. So, by my calculations that is 2 x 2 x 1.5 or 6x cpacity increase for AMD in the next couple of months.

Did Intel switch to 65nm and 300mm sooner than AMD? Yes. Did they switch to copper and low-K dieelectric before AMD? No. Did their 90nm production even work quite right for Intel ever? Not sure. When the 90nm P4s used more power than their 130nm brethren you have to wonder.

Of course Intel has something like 6 processro FABs all over the world that are likely larger than AMDs. Doesn't take much R&D just to build more capacity especially when you are the 800lb gorilla.

Basically, Intel and AMD, at this time, are quality processor maufacturing operations. Intel tends to make technology switches before AMD, but they also get to deal with first adopter issues. And, when they both buy there equipment form the same semiconductor equipment manufacturers like Applied Materials, Novellus, and others. How much is AMD benefitting from Intel working out the bugs.

Re:Not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16600692)

Going online and shipping volume production are two completely different things. It can months to qualify new fab equipment, processes, etc. By that time, Intel will be shipping 45nm parts and will be ahead once again.
 
And to claim that this is the first production issue they have had since K5 is completely forgetting the SOI mess that AMD found themselves in when they were trying to push Clawhammers out the door a couple of years ago.

Re:Not new (1)

Mokurai (458416) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600950)

Going from 90 nm to 65 nm results in 1.9 times as many chips.

(90/65)^2

Watch out for an Axe... (3, Funny)

Numbah One (821914) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599018)

AMD has a lot of balls in the air right now
Hopefully, they won't get them chopped off.

Bad means good. (0, Offtopic)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599090)

For AMD Success Means Problems, and also, to shake your booty means to wiggle one's butt. Permit me to demonstrate.

Re:Bad means good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16599200)

Your application for a permit to shake your booty has been denied.

Science behind the miniaturization (2, Interesting)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599112)

when I took microelectronics courses in university about 15 years ago the lower limit for our process was around 2um (if I remember correctly) and my professor several times seemed to strongly believe that the lower limit for gate length was around 0.6-0.7um for various reasons. Nowadays we're way smaller than that, and it's getting even smaller as time goes on: is there a website somewhere that details exactly which theoretical advances have been made during the past 10-15 years to enable processes to continue getting smaller?

Poor grammer in parent subject (1)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599188)

Okay kiddies, say it together: commas are our friends!

For AMD, success means problems.

Re:Poor grammer in parent subject (2, Funny)

bmin (945466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599284)

News Flash poor spelling! It's grammar

Moo (3, Funny)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599332)

It's better than Intel's Pentium problem. They simply couldn't do the math!

Q: Why did they call it a Pentium instead of 586.
A: When they booted up the first Pentium and added 100 to 486, it answered 585.32752365107239874

Grammar Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16599340)

Did anyone else have trouble reading that headline? Perhaps one of the following two options would have worked better (at least for me):

Success Means Problems For AMD

-or-

For AMD, Success Means Problems

New 65nm AMD fabs coming on line (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599414)

AMD is converting Fab 30 in Dresden from 90um and 200mm wafers to Fab 38, with 65nm and 300mm wafers. This should come on line in 2007. Longer term, AMD is building a new fab in upstate New York [xbitlabs.com] for 32nm features on 300mm wafers. That should come on line in 2010.

Meanwhile, AMD's main fab, Fab 36 in Dresden, is starting to produce 65nm features on 200mm wafers [theinquirer.net] . AMD is also outsourcing some production to a 65nm fab in Singapore [reghardware.co.uk] .

Down at the user level, this means that first shipments of AMD CPUs made with 65nm technology should appear in December of 2006. [reghardware.co.uk] Coming soon to Dell Dimension [fabtech.org] desktops.

Re:New 65nm AMD fabs coming on line (2, Informative)

Ignignot (782335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600392)

Intel has a better shrink timeline for each of those steps compared to AMD. Intel will ship the next step from 65 (45? I forget) in 2H 2007. AMD is looking at 5 more years of lagged shrink.

Slight gripe (1)

uarch (637449) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599438)

... but its dual-core Opteron and Athlon 64 processors contain two processing cores integrated onto a single piece of silicon, or a die. This design has given AMD great performance during the past few years ...
That incorrectly implies Intel's designs aren't two cores on a single die. They've been putting two cores on a single die for quite a while now.

#irc.trollt4lk.com (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16599452)

Trou3led OS. Now

ehm... increase the price by 5% (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16599534)

That's the traditional thing to do when demand outstrips your ability to supply.

 

Woot!? 7p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16599564)

as fiT7ingly

Are AMD processors more stable than Intel? (3, Interesting)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600138)

AMD used to make Pentium clones. Now, though, the AMD architecture is completely different from Intel's although they both will run the same software. The 64-bit AMD cpus seem to have fewer software faults when running Windows XP compared with the Intel P4s. This is an observation based on only a few systems and a LOT of things besides the cpu can affect that but I wonder if anyone else has noticed this (or maybe the opposite)? The comparisons between cpu architectures are always based on speed and benchmarks but not stability. Has anyone ever compared the different designs for how many GPFs they throw off, other things being equal? I was thinking maybe that's one of the reasons why the AMD systems are still selling so well, even though the new Intel Conroe is faster.

Pricing (2, Interesting)

Tancred (3904) | more than 7 years ago | (#16600708)

When you can't make your product fast enough for all the demand, you're not charging enough. If you charge more, you can use that to increase manufacturing capacity. I'm sure someone at AMD understands that, so maybe they were caught off guard and are backfilling orders and have decided just to not reduce the price as early as they would have.
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