AMD has begun selling the first shipments of processors from its new Fab 36 in Dresden, Germany. Fab 36 began ramping 300mm silicon wafers with 90nm process technology in record time, reaching mature yield levels right from the start. AMD has also been producing a significant number of 65nm test chips, and expects to begin shipping 65nm products from the new facility in the second half of this year. Fab 36 is expected to be substantially converted for 65nm production by mid-2007, too, and should help AMD realize its goal of "doubling total production output from 2005 through 2008." AMD won't rely solely on Fab 36 for 65nm production, though. Chartered Semiconductor should begin production of 300mm 65nm wafers for AMD by the second half of this year. Chartered's Fab 7 will add an estimated 18,000 wafer starts per month (WSPM) to AMD's production before 2007, complementing Fab 36's estimated 26,000 WSPM for the same time frame.
In addition to ramping up Fab 36 production and tapping Chartered Semiconductor for additional wafers, AMD has also increased the output of its older Fab 30 facility, which produces 200mm wafers. Fab 30 saw an 80% rise in output from the first quarter of 2004 to the fourth quarter of 2005, with capacity growing from an estimated maximum of 20,000 WSPM to 30,000 WSPM today. The growth is largely attributed to AMD's patented Automated Precision Manufacturing (APM), which consists of over 200 proprietary technologies that enable dynamic adjustments to fab processes. Daryl Ostrander, AMD's Senior Vice-President of Manufacturing and Technology, says APM enables more seamless transitions to new technologies, speeding up the process of ramping to high yields and volume production. Ostrander also claimed that that AMD is now converting fabs to the next technology generation at consistently accelerated rates.
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