A few days ago Globalfoundries announced that its "7LP" 7-nm FinFET process is ready for prime-time, meaning that customer companies can start building actual products on the process. That's a pretty quick turnaround, given that the company announced its plans to skip the 10-nm node and move directly to 7 nm in September of last year. GloFo says that compared to its 14-nm products, its 7LP process can offer a 40% performance improvement in the same power envelope or a whopping 60% power reduction within the same frequency range.
Normally we wouldn't be as excited about an "LP" process, but in this case the initials actually stand for "Leading Performance." Unlike TSMC, who usually brings out low-power-optimized version of its new processes first, GlobalFoundries' new tech is intended for high-performance products. In fact, the company specifically mentions that its 7-nm chips could operate at 5 GHz, and suggests "server, data center, [and] ASICs" as potential targets for the process.
We are obviously not privy to the fine details of GlobalFoundries' business, but it doesn't take great clairvoyance to recognize that AMD is probably one of the foundry's largest customers. Suddenly that year-old roadmap that we saw back in May—which listed 7nm CPUs launching in the latter part of 2018—doesn't look so far-fetched anymore. GlobalFoundries says that it expects the first 7LP products to launch about a year from now, and that volume production should pick up in the second half of next year.
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