GlobalFoundries, AMD’s former chip manufacturing arm, is a fab that has seen some hard times. After being spun-off from AMD in 2009, the company has encountered repeated trouble releasing new manufacturing nodes in a timely process, culminating in the company canceling their internally developed 14XM FinFET process. Charting a new course, the in 2014 the company opted to license Samsung’s 14nm FinFET process, and in some much-needed good news for the company, today they and AMD are announcing that they have successfully fabbed AMD’s first 14nm sample chip.

Today’s announcement, which comes by way of AMD, notes that the fab has produced their first 14nm FinFET LPP sample for AMD. The overall nature of the announcement is somewhat vague – GlobalFoundries isn’t really defining what “successful” means – though presumably this means AMD has recieved working samples back from the fab. Overall the message from the two companies is clear that they are making progress on bringing up 14nm manufacturing at GlobalFoundries ahead of mass production in 2016.

Of particular importance in today’s announcement is the node being used; the sample chips were fabbed on 14nm Low Power Plus (LPP), which is Samsung’s (and now GlobalFoundries’) second-generation 14nm FinFET design. Relative to the earlier 14nm Low Power Early (14LPE) design, 14LPP is a refined process designed to offer roughly 10% better performance, and going forward will be the process we expect all newer chips to be produced on. So in the long-run, this will be GlobalFoundries’ principle FinFET process.

Samsung Brochure on 14LPE vs. 14LPP

AMD for their part has already announced that they have taped out several 14LPP designs for GlobalFondries, so a good deal of their future success hinges on their long-time partner bringing 14LPP to market in a timely manner. For today’s announcement AMD is not disclosing what chip was successfully fabbed, so it’s not clear if this was CPU, APU, or GPU, though with GlobalFoundries a CPU/APU is more likely. Though no matter what the chip, this is a welcome development for AMD; as we have seen time and time again with chips from Intel, Samsung, and Apple, a properly implemented FinFET design can significantly cut down on leakage and boost the power/performance curve, which will help AMD become more competitive with their already FinFET-enabled competition.

Finally, looking at the expected timetables, GlobalFoundries’ production plans call for their 14LPP process to enter the early ramp-up phase this quarter, with full-scale production starting in 2016. Similarly, in today’s announcement AMD reiterated that they will be releasing products in 2016 based on GlobalFoundries’ 14LPP process.

Source: AMD

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  • medi03 - Monday, November 9, 2015 - link

    AMD's Jaguar cores had better perf/watt than anything Intel's, according to Anand.
  • ant6n - Friday, November 6, 2015 - link

    Can we get some moderation on this?
    How about an option to flag abusive comments.
  • Mr Perfect - Friday, November 6, 2015 - link

    Agreed, personal attacks deserve moderating.
  • prtskg - Friday, November 6, 2015 - link

    Tape out of chip happens before sample production. The article says -
    'AMD for their part has already announced that they have taped out several 14LPP designs for GlobalFondries'
    And this is first sample production for one of those chips.
  • bronan - Monday, November 9, 2015 - link

    I hope that amd can deliver a price worthy solution in 2016, you already can see intel is happy and shows it by releasing cpu's which has nothing to offer to me. These new series are absolute nothing new and barely am faster than the previous ones. Hell did not even upgrade yet at all, because its not worth the big pile of money they charge, and since they killed the second hand market you can sell your still perfect working product only for scraps prices.
    Any game i have runs smooth on either the amd 9590 or the intel 4690
  • CaedenV - Friday, November 6, 2015 - link

    Not sure why people disagree with you, because this is truly awesome news! I am a proud Intel fanboy myself, but it has been sad to watch AMD fall further and further behind on all fronts. But if they catch up on their manufacturing, and a fire is being lit under their engineering staff, then this could place their next gen CPUs at a mere year behind Intel. More importantly, it puts them on a path to potentially catch up to Intel who seems to have been resting relatively easy for the last few product cycles.

    I for one would love to see a little competition!
  • tekeffect - Friday, November 6, 2015 - link

    Agreed I'm an Intel guy and boy have they been comfortable for too long. Any news that might get these 2 competing again is good news
  • Refuge - Monday, November 9, 2015 - link

    They haven't been resting easy, they have just been investing in gains that are of little benefit to the desktop consumer market.

    But look at the perf/watt they have been working on the last few cycles? Or their new memory system? Also, while we don't see it, they seem to have been a bit busy in the server market as of late too.

    I agree they aren't being threatened in the desktop space, and therefore we aren't seeing much if any improvement on our end. But at the same time, its just because they have taken this chance to focus on other things.
  • sabot00 - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    Good news for them. They need a cutting-edge process node if they want Zen to have any chance at all.
  • spikebike - Thursday, November 5, 2015 - link

    I'm hoping AMD can execute well, the CPUs, APUs, and GPUs are looking kinda embarassing both on performance and performance/watt.

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