AMD talks 45nm plans, RV670, Phenom

Following its third-quarter financial results announcement yesterday, AMD held its customary conference call with financial analysts. Much of the conference call was dedicated to diverting attention away from the company's $394 million quarterly net loss, and in doing so, AMD talked quite a bit about upcoming products and manufacturing plans.

AMD said its "Spider" platform is on track to launch in November. Spider will combine Phenom processors, RD790 chipsets, and RV670 graphics processors, so the statement essentially confirms that both Phenom and the RV670 are due next month. Regarding Phenom, AMD plans to introduce the new quad-core desktop chips at prices where it "[doesn't] participate today." Since AMD's most expensive desktop CPU has a recommended price of $220 right now, the firm may be confident enough to play in the same ballpark as at least Intel's $266 Core 2 Quad Q6600. As for the RV670, AMD intends to launch the product "with cards available in channels," suggesting a hard launch with immediate availability.

On 45nm plans, AMD President and COO Dirk Meyer stated simply, "We're looking forward to ramping 45nm product production in the first half of next year." Back in February, AMD spoke of a Q2 2008 launch time frame for 45nm products, and the firm later went on to cite a "mid-2008" time frame.  In the conference call, Meyer stuck with the loose H1 2008 schedule, even when asked for specifics in the Q&A session.

Fab-wise, AMD has shut down its Dresden, Germany-based Fab 30 and is converting it into Fab 38, which will produce 300mm wafers. AMD CEO Hector Ruiz elaborated, "We're doing it in such a way that Fab 38 is going to be like a race car idling in the pit stop. We will be prepared to ramp that quickly should we need extra capacity. . . at this point in time we're planning to have Fab 38 at a modest activity in 2008."

AMD talked a little bit about Barcelona, too. Demand for quad-core Opterons is high, Dirk Meyer explained, but the initial production ramp has been slower than anticipated. The problem isn't yields, which Meyer said are "right where we expected them to be." Rather, Meyer stated that AMD needs to "tune the design to the technology." The company expects Barcelona to become widely available by the middle of this quarter.

Last, but not least, AMD discussed market share estimates for the third quarter. The company believes it "clearly gained share" in the mobile market but lost some share in the server arena. On the desktop, AMD said things were "too close to call," but that it probably held its ground against Intel.

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