DRESDEN, Germany--Advanced Micro Devices Inc. today dedicated Fab 30, its advanced wafer fab in Dresden, Germany.
Activity is currently focused on characterization and qualification of the facility. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chip maker expects to begin production of Athlon processors with copper interconnect technology later this quarter, with first shipments planned for the second quarter of next year.
"Today we are dedicating a magnificent new manufacturing facility, the first fab of the new millennium, and the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world," said W.J. Sanders III, AMD's chairman and CEO. AMD has stated it believes the Dresden fab is the equal of any of Intel Corp.'s fabs (see December 1998 Online Magazine story).
Next year, the fab will roll out Athlon processors capable of running at 1 gigahertz on 0.18-micron design rules, Sanders said. He noted that a pre-production version of the Athlon built using the technology installed at Dresden is already running faster than 900 MHz.
Fab 30 eventually will be capable of producing 5,000 8-inch wafers per week, and is the first facility in Europe to employ copper technology. AMD is also using 248-nm step-and-scan exposure tools that it said it can push to produce 0.15-micron devices.
Fab 30's investment will total $1.9 billion (approximately DM 3.2 billion). AMD's investment ranks as one of the largest foreign investments in the former East Germany, the company said. AMD Saxony Manufacturing GmbH, the German subsidiary that will operate the fab, currently has about 950 employees, and expects to double that over the next several years. Most of the hires were local.
Sanders emphasized the importance of a qualified workforce. "It is easy to be caught up by the incredible complexity of a modern semiconductor manufacturing facility and, in the process, to overlook the role of people. No facility, no matter how grand and wondrous it may be, has utility or value without skilled and talented people to unleash its productive power," he said.