GlobalFoundaries, the fabrication arm of AMD that was spun off into its own entity in 2009, has made a major announcement — it’s produced its own 14nm silicon sample for the first time. This is significant, because while it has worked with 14nm hardware before, it previously used Samsung’s sampling to do so. Now it’s capable of making its own, 2016 is much more rosy for the likes of AMD, which will be after 14nm in large quantities for its Zen line of CPUs.
This 14LPP FinFET process is also important, because it represents a second generation of 14nm FinFET design, which is capable of producing roughly 10 percent greater performance than its older variant (as per Ars) AMD will welcome every boost it can get when pitting its new chips against Intel’s offerings.
AMD has previously stated its intentions to utilize GlobalFoundaries to produce several different 14LPP designs using the new process, so it bodes well that the manufacturer has been able to successfully produce its own 14nm hardware. However there is still much work to be done before it can begin large-scale production.
The early ramp up phase for 14nm fabrication will begin some time this quarter, followed by full scale production at some point in early 2016 – fingers crossed, making the AMD Zen CPUs ready for sometime in the latter half of 2016. However some are more optimistic. Since AMD taped out its designs for Zen earlier this year, some believe that we may see Zen CPUs by the end of Q2 2016 (that would mean a late Spring release).
That would be surprising in some senses, but if AMD is able to bring its next-generation hardware to market and it’s as strong as it claims, it will certainly improve its relevance. While Intel is expected to come back strong against any AMD gains in the market, a bit more competition in the CPU industry would be welcome.
Do you think GlobalFoundaries is going to be able to deliver on its promises here and provide AMD with all of the components it needs for its next-generation hardware production?