AMD's new 45nm quad-core Phenoms on a wafer.
In a press conference last night, AMD showed off a full 300mm wafer of 45nm Shanghai CPUs – the next evolution due this year to replace the current 65nm quad-core Barcelona processors on the market today.
The 45nm process is a joint venture between AMD and IBM and uses immersed EUV – extreme ultra violet lithography. This type of lithography amplifies the lens like an eye to make even smaller processes possible, but it does have its problems. AMD was keen to cite its “full field” lithography, where it designed the manufacturing process to be a “Gate First” approach which works better with current tooling and is the most efficient manner to AMD’s style of CPU manufacture.
Just down the road from us in Dresden, Fab 36 is currently making all the Barcelonas and Shanghais at a rate of 24,000 300mm wafers per month. Fab 30, on the other hand, is currently in the process of being converted to use 300mm wafers and run the EUV process for future 45nm chips.
AMD also promised at least two speed increments from the current Phenom range, the first comes in addition to Tri-core Phenoms within a few weeks. AMD bamboozled the watching audience with overzealous marketing terms for the early parts – citing platform initiatives
as part of a central role it believes will leads to greater energy efficiency and performance on a platform level.
This is in stark contrast to what some of its partners told us earlier in the day – the component manufacturers were keen to see diversity so they could sell with anyone, not just “Spider”. Unfortunately this diversity also currently means, Intel CPUs.
Newer platforms like “Cartwheel” (OEM platform) and “Perseus” were left deliberately vague and a lot of ambiguous 2008 buzzwords were thrown about, but no hardware specs were revealed. “Hardcastle” for example was shown as a solution offering “Industry-leading longevity and stability, essential security, manageability and essential performance.”
While we’ve already seen Centrino 2 from Intel, AMD’s Puma platform and new Griffin processor, branded Turion Ultra X2, will arrive by the end of Q2 – the same time Intel’s platform launches so it should finally make for a diverse quarter in the notebook area. There was no information about what process Griffin was being made on, what frequencies it would arrive in or how good it was – again, details were left out.
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