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AMD to abondon SOI next year


AMD been sticking out from the crowd since it has been marking its processors with SOI based processes, a pattern that was broken with the launch of Brazos. AMD has now revealed it will stop using SOI and transition to Bulk processes next year.

SOI (Silicon-on-Insulator) is a technology used when making circuits for lowering leakage and thus boosting performance. The technoloogy has many advantages over convential bulk manufacturing, but has not been able to break ground on the market. As otherI more advanced technologies continues to be be more expensive it is a niche that becomes harder and harder to keep on to.

AMD will therefore move on from SOI based processes next year. Kaveri that will replace Trinity will be made with 28 nanometer technology, which CTO (Chief Technology Office) Mark Papermaster confirms will be Bulk-based. The same year the cheap and energy efficient platforms Kabini and Temash will arrive, which will build on a similar 28 nanometer technology. There were not details on who will supply the process, but most likely Kaveri will be made by GlobalFoundries, while TSMC will produce Temash and Kabini.

This means that all products that launches in 2013 will be built on 28 nanometer, without SOI. The exception is Vishera that launches later this year that will be mass produced on 32 nanometer SOI at GlobalFoundries, and from what we know will not be replaced next year. Papermaster also confirmed that AMD leaves the door open for working with other foundry partners if it plays to AMD's advantage, which means there is perhaps an opening for e,g, Samsung or UMC.

In related new Papermaster also revealed that HSA Foundation was formed to compete against actors like Intel and NVIDIA. That it will start integrating ARM processors in coming APUs is simply because of the demand for TrustZone from company clients. TrustZone will help AMD to access dedicated security logics with its APUs, but als offer DRM for retail applications - which is often requested by customers. The cooperation with ARM will focus on HSA Foundation completely, but with all that is going at AMD with the new CEO and officers it is hard to rule out an APU without x86, even though it feels unlikely.

Source: DigiTimes

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