Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has just completed its wafer qualification process, including copper deposition, at its new Fab 30 in Dresden, Germany.
AMD used a standard K6 microprocessor with 0.25-micron design rules as the test wafer to verify that the production line is meeting target specifications, a spokesman said. The next step is to qualify the line on 0.18-micron design rules using the new Athlon processor as a test wafer.
The spokesman said the Dresden fab is on schedule to start production of the Athlon using copper processing early in 2000.
The new fab garnered further attention this week amid reports that AMD might consider adding a joint venture partner to help defray costs and utilize capacity at the facility. The AMD spokesman said the firm has no plans at the moment to bring in a partner.
However, he said depending on market-supply conditions, AMD might be interested in a partner if it ends up with excess capacity in Dresden. Some sources indicated that such overcapacity issues may be looming at the fab, particularly because as K6 production phases down at AMD's Austin, Texas, plant, the company is expected to begin manufacturing Athlon chips at that site.
Meanwhile, James Doran has been named vice president and general manager of AMD Saxony Manufacturing GmbH, the subsidiary operating the Dresden fab. Doran was formerly vice president of AMD's Austin fab and submicron development center.
He succeeds Jack Saltich, who resigned to become president and chief executive of Three-Five Systems Inc., a Tempe, Ariz., flat panel display manufacturer.