While Monocha told EE Times that Globalfoundries’ Malta, N.Y., plant is ramping, there is still some speculation about the stability of the fab’s future. For example, the question remains whether Globalfoundries will be able to recover lost credibility with its customers and attract tier 1 fabless companies for its 28- or 20-nm process nodes.
Last but not least, there is also a question mark over the foundry’s relationship with its closest partner and parent company, AMD. With the apparent cancellation by AMD of 28-nm products at Globalfoundries and no plans to move GPUs away from TSMC anytime soon, some analysts are publicly wondering how long the relationship can continue after so much strain.
While it is already known that AMD will manufacture the successor to Llano, Trinity, on 32-nm SOI at Globalfoundries Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany, the more distant future is harder to predict.
With no public updates on the status of its wafer supply agreement for 2012, industry speculation is rampant that AMD will move production away from its spin-off foundry to an all-TSMC approach post-32 nm.
Given that GLobalfoundries profitability has not been helped by the restrictive supply agreement put in place in 2011 (based on good die pricing) one has to wonder if this divorce will best serve both companies.
While AMD struggles for relevance in an increasingly complex silicon landscape, Globalfoundries, too, faces a real test on whether a post-AMD world unlocks its ability to deliver on the vision of “the first truly global foundry,” launched way back in 2009. Only time will tell.
Even after the gate first fiasco GloFo keeps blindly following IBM for technical decisions. To catch up after these embarrassing ( fatal ? ) technical decisions GloFo needs people with a successful track record at the top. Yet GloFo is full of people from Motorola Semiconductor Fabs in Autin that failed to keep up and withered away into Freescale. GloFo CTO is from Motorola and does not even have a PhD. Just compare that with the TSMC bench.
Qualcomm, TI, and others did not use much high-k/metal gate technology at 28nm because of a lack of maturity at all foundries. Relatively low yields, relatively high costs, caused them to stick with a largely non-high-k gate stack at 28nm. This has little or nothing to do with gate-first, gate-last, GlobalFoundries or TSMC.
In order to ramp the product in 32nm and below, the fabless design house need the design expertise to show them how to modify the current design to fit the advanced process, especially for HKMG one. There are few high order effects never shown in bulk process before. GF needs someone to help AMD migrated to 28nm Gate-First HKMG technology.
He can say anything he wants but without data to back it up, it's just a propaganda to hide his real issues. maybe he does not even know what the real issues he is facing. GF lost credibility in a big time. customers will know whether he is telling us truths or not.
Some relevant quotes from an article "That's Two For Intel" published by Tom's hardware.
Supposedly QCOM is not even using high -k /metal gate...
Importantly, TSMCís decision to go with gate-last (following Intel's approach) is steeped in history, according to the companyís senior VP in charge of R&D. Part of the reason why gate-first manufacturing results in low yields is that you have to control threshold voltage carefully, since the N- and P-channels use the exact same metal. The semiconductor industry tried to carefully control the voltage this way two decades ago and found it very difficult. The gate-last approach doesnít require the same control because the metal for the P channel is different than the metal for the N channel. You lose some density, but yields are a lot higher, and the easiest way to lose a fight is to not show up at all. Itís not trivial to switch a design from gate-first to gate-last. It requires additional redesign time. To that end, you canít just change your order from Globalfoundries to TSMC by checking a different box on a form.
It seems that Qualcomm figured out it canít get the yields it needs on a gate-first approach. At the 2010 International Electron Devices Meeting held in San Francisco, the company stated that it wouldnít be using high-k/metal gate technology for the majority of its 28 nm products. This is a big disadvantage for Qualcomm.
You have Qualcomm, which faces challenges on the manufacturing side due to gambling on gate-first high-k and now being forced to go with standard silicon,