DRESDEN, Germany U.S. chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has decided to build a 300-mm wafer fab in Dresden Germany, rather than using and IBM Corp. fab in East Fishkill, N.Y. But IBM could still play a role in AMD's future manufacturing plans, the company said Thursday (Nov. 20).
In a conference call following a ground-breaking ceremony Hector Ruiz, AMD's president and chief executive officer, said there would be a match between IBM running a 65-nm manufacturing process on 300-mm diameter wafers at East Fishkill and AMD using the same 65-nm manufacturing process on 300-mm wafers in Fab 36 in Dresden. That, Ruiz added, created opportunities for both.
The companies' plans could align due to a process development agreement completed by AMD and IBM at the beginning of 2003.
"We put scientists and engineers into a lab in New York and that's the technology that will go into this factory," said Ruiz. He added: "That's one of the many options we have. We have negotiations with many partners. And that could be an option to consider down the road."
The use of the term "partner" could be interpreted as a significant investor who would take an equity share in Fab 36, although details were not disclosed.
To the extent that equipment vendors are competitive on costs, Ruiz said he expected AMD to have "pretty much an identical equipment set to IBM" for running the 65-nm process technology. The fab is projected to start cranking out 13,000 wafer starts a month in 2006 and eventually increase to 20,000 wafer starts a month.
AMD's chief financial officer Bob Rivet said about $300 million has been promised from two unidentified partners. Reportedly, they are the State of Saxony and a consortium formed by M+W Zander, a manufacturer of wafer fabs.
Rivet said that of the projected $2.4 billion to be spent over four years, about $1.5 billion has been "captured." When asked what AMD was looking for in a partner at Fab 36, Ruiz said: "They have to be friends, I mean complementary and not competitors. And they have to have a close technology match."
That would suggest a fit with IBM and possibly with Chartered Semiconductor, which is developing a foundry process technology with IBM. Ruiz said there would be little or no compatibility at Fab 36 with Motorola's semiconductor processes.