Advanced Micro Devices Inc. plans to hold a press conference late Thursday to announce it has selected United Microelectronics Corp. of Taiwan as its foundry partner to make microprocessor chips.
The announcement will confirm what sources told SBN two weeks ago after AMD president Hector de J. Ruiz disclosed plans to strike a foundry agreement for PC processors (see Jan. 16 story).
AMD so far provided no details of what the foundry agreement will include or what chips UMC may make for the processor firm. Because Ruiz two weeks ago highlighted the need for a foundry partner to have advanced top-of-the-line technology, UMC could be tapped to make some of AMD's high end Athlon processors, as well as value-end Durons.
UMC would likely pick up Duron production, as AMD is transitioning its Duron Fab 25 in Austin into making flash memories.
Analysts will also be eager to see how big a role UMC may play in future AMD processor production, and whether that might supplant the U.S. firm's previous plans to build a new costly 300-mm wafer fab. On the other hand, some speculated that UMC could be the 300-mm partner that AMD was seeking for its next-generation fab.
During the company's conference cal with analysts two weeks ago, AMD chairman and CEO W.J. (Jerry) Sanders III said there was no conflict with the company's new foundry strategy existing technology licensing contracts with Intel Corp. He confirmed that a previous agreement with Intel had prevented AMD from outsourcing more than 20% of its PC processors at silicon foundries, but that was no longer the case, according to Sanders.