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CPU AMD's reliance on GloFo is helping to kill it

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Guest-16, 30 Oct 2015.

  1. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    So I've just read a report about Global Foundries 14nm process'. GloFo will be ready by Jan with 14nm FF, but it will be LPP/LPE (low power performance and low power 'economy') first. No high performance/frequency node development yet - so nothing suitable for CPUs or GPU.

    That's understandable since it licensed the tech from Samsung, who would never use a HP process, but it also goes to show why Zen is Q4 2016 - because GloFo decided to not accommodate its biggest customer, instead pivoting like the rest of the industry to mobile/IoT/automotive. But it will be competing in this area against Samsung and TSMC, who have 14/16nm active well before them and existing customers. It's crazy to seek new business at the expense of their old partners!

    So why wouldn't AMD just go TSMC 16nm FF? Which will have a HP process (16FF+ I think) available in ~Q1/2. That would bring Zen on the market 6-9 months earlier! Plus a big CPU + GPU order from AMD will swing TSMC business preference their way (and it would hurt Nvidia, who were TSMC's largest customer. That is Apple/Qualcomm now afaik)

    AMD maybe don't have enough money to prepare the same product for two foundries, so it's one or the other. But given that AMD will have known GloFo's 14nm roadmap well in advance why are they not more aggressively protecting their business? Seeking to get out of contracts with GloFo, given GloFo isn't committed to AMD! AMD's mismanagement is helping to kill itself. :wallbash:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 30 Oct 2015
  2. Harlequin

    Harlequin Modder

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    are AMD the 3dfx of the 21st century?
     
  3. thom804

    thom804 Minimodder

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    As I've said in previous threads, I bloody hope not.

    We NEED AMD in the hardware arena. I just hope their industrial sales dept. can pull their finger out and start pinching back some of Intel's monopoly on the business sector.
    As much as they might be making from the coup for PS4 and Xbox 1 parts, I'm not sure if it's enough to keep them afloat until shortly after Zen launches.
     
  4. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    No, 3DFX shat on their channel partners by producing the products themselves. In comparison AMD has been shat on by the channel, often sidelining products it thinks won't sell (enough). AMD would arguably do better to create its own internet-focused direct channel like Xiaomi/Microsoft/Apple etc

    Where they match - both 3DFX and AMD made poor architectural decisions (VS100/Bulldozer)

    3DFX Glide also needing heavy driver optimization in games to get its advantage and with no internet for driver distribution it was quickly superseded by higher level APIs OpenGL/DX. At least AMD's Radeon drivers are/were edge-leading with Mantle development 'directing' Vulcan/DX12.
     
  5. Xir

    Xir Modder

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    GloFo isn't an AMD spin off for nothing, they tailor their process to AMD and vice versa.
    AMD has tried outsourcing to other foundies, and failed miserably... (Chartered couldn't even make the "Duron" work)

    Processor design is tailored to the production process, as in, the design needs to be adapted to production processes, which is why spinning off the production lines in the first place was a nice financial trick, but generally a stupid idea.

    *edit...only counts for processors, the GPU-side of things isn't optimised for (or produced at) GloFo as far as I know.
     
  6. Fizzban

    Fizzban Man of Many Typos

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    AMD seems to be dying the death of a thousand cuts. Only time will tell if they survive. I honestly hope they do.
     
  7. Digerati

    Digerati Minimodder

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    I hope they survive too because we need AMD to keep nipping at Intel's heels to keep Intel innovative and advancing development.

    That said, AMD announced a few years ago they will no longer be competing head-to-head with Intel, but instead, will be moving into a variety of smaller (niche?) markets.

    Sadly, IMO anyway, the world is moving to small handheld/mobile devices for much of their computing needs - so focusing on the LPP/LPE side of things does make "business" if they do want to survive.
     
  8. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Not necessarily. Production process dictates design rules for the masks/layout, which AMD has to abide by. Different processes have different design rules, which makes it very time/cost intensive, but not impossible. AMD would know GloFo was going low power first on 14nm, and they already engage with TSMC on the GPU and Semi Custom front (which includes x86 CPUs) and TSMC has a lot of experience with application processors so it would not have been impossible.

    I've since found out GloFo owners Madhubala also own 21% of AMD and have a director on their Board, so I wonder how much influence that has over decisions because the wafer supply agreement ended in 2012 - they have no real obligation to use GloFo.

    This just keeps adding more weight to the split and sell argument - Mudhubala may see more value in AMD's patents and IP than actually keeping it in the market. High performance x86 IP is worth way way more than AMD's actual market value if you consider how much money is around patent litigation.
     
  9. Digerati

    Digerati Minimodder

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    I agree. I think it is important to remember that many AMD products are used in places we don't think of. These include POS (point of sale) products, embedded dedicated devices in automotive and aviation, robotics, tools, test equipment, communications, medical devices, recording and reproduction, and on and on. That is, not just CPUs and GPUs for PCs and notebooks.
     
  10. rollo

    rollo Modder

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    If AMD is split for patents it's game over. The patents are one of the few reasons they can still trade. How much of there loans are based on the resale value of said patents. ( I'd imagine it's pretty high).

    AMD has sold everything but there patents. My guess is they are holding the company afloat and one of the key reasons bank loans have not been called in. As banks realise they could just sell the patents to get there cash back.

    AMD could not afford for Samsung to make there chips for them, tsmc is basically dedicated all 14/16 space to Apple. Who can afford to pay the premiums up front if required. It's why both Nvidia and AMD have yet to release a 14/16nm product. The process node is expensive and Apple has brought it.

    Gloflo are behind on there own 14/16nm implementations as they had to license the technology from Samsung in the first place and enough the low power stuff has achieved mass production the stuff required for gpus and CPUs is Ment to be only now been made ready.

    Rumours have been for months that AMD has asked tsmc to make there Zen chips because of this delay.
     
  11. atc95

    atc95 I have the upgrade bug!

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  12. Harlequin

    Harlequin Modder

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  13. atc95

    atc95 I have the upgrade bug!

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    Yes but from my understanding of the article it is now licensed from Samsung and made by GloFlo rather than made by Samsung which I assume is a lower cost and a more reliable supply.
     
  14. rollo

    rollo Modder

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    It's all Samsungs technology either way. Samsungs tech was prioritised on low power stuff first because of who its main buyers are. Gloflo tsmc and Samsung themselves have all struggled to go from low power mobile to high power GPU CPU stuff. It's why we got fury and the nvidia 900 series on the older process.

    Only Intel / IBM has successfully launched a high power chip. None of the rest have achieved anything like volume production.

    This coincided with the rumours that AMD has already signed it's ZEN chip to TSMC plant.

    Personally think 1st gen stuff from nvidia and AMD on this process will be very expensive due to the costs they are paying and also very limited. Think maybe only the top tier gpus.

    Costs come down once you achieve mass production. Intel spent a fortune to get to that point. Anyone saw the IBM costs for its latest machine ( crazy stuff reading anandtechs article)
     
  15. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Zen is still on GloFo but the High Perf process was due Q42016. AMD recently been saying 'volume' Zen is early 2017 now, but then there's this tapeout news... I dont know what's going on any more. :(
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 9 Nov 2015

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