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Samsung to produce Greenland GPUs for AMD starting Q2 2016

by Mark Tyson on 22 December 2015, 10:31

Tags: AMD (NYSE:AMD), Samsung (005935.KS), GLOBALFOUNDRIES

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According to a new report published by the Korea Electronic Times, Samsung has secured AMD as a customer and will be mass producing chips for the company early next year. About six weeks ago we heard that GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF) will be used for the fabrication of multiple AMD products coming in 2016 and beyond, following successful tape outs. AMD will be fluidly regulating the proportion of chips made by either supplier depending upon yield achieved and other factors, says the latest report on the state of play.

An industry insider told the Korea Economic Times "Because Samsung Electronics and GF have same IP for 14-nano processing, chips that are designed by AMD will all be produced at both factories". The split production should also help if there is unexpectedly large demand.

Greenland followed by Zen

Sources indicated that Greenland will be put into production starting from Q2 2016. Fabricated on the aforementioned 14nm FinFET LPP (Low Power Plus) process, this GPU is twice as efficient as the 28nm Fiji, claimed the industry insider. Shortly after Greenland starts rolling off the production lines Zen will follow using the same process. Like with the Greenland GPU, production will be split between Samsung's and GF's 14nm LPP production facilities.

It is noted that Samsung won the Greenland GPU contract with AMD following disappointment with TSMC, which allegedly had issues with yield and instability of supply. Samsung will now work on speeding up the development of its 10nm process technology, which should be ready for primetime from 2017, says the Korean source.

HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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I did wonder when AMD would move away from TSMC as it's been on the cards for a while!
It could be a very interesting move if true, but I was still expecting AMD to stick with TSMC for their GPUs on 14/16. On one hand, Samsung have had variants of 14nm in mass production longer than TSMC which could be a win for AMD to differentiate from Nvidia, but at the same time, does Samsung have much experience producing very large processors like GPUs? I suppose at least GloFo have produced both large processors and specifically GPU logic on AMD's APUs though. I guess only time will tell!

Unless I'd read confirmation of it I wouldn't have been convinced about Qualcomm moving 820 production to Samsung either. And if Qualcomm are confident enough…
I wonder if this means Samsung maybe producing AMD cpus on 10nm in 2018 or further on? A bit like Intel's tick tock system with their chips?
Samsung and GF have an agreement where both get the technology the other develops, so Samsung would get this 14FF LPP from GF.

If TSMC's 16FF+ is in bad shape then Nvidia could be in a world of hurt. It's possible that AMD have made this move to prevent Nvidia from bailing themselves out at Samsung, of course Samsung won't exactly be falling over themselves to help the patent trolls anyway.

AMD have nothing at TSMC, that relationship appears to be over for now.
As far as I know at least some of the existing console processors, along with some of their cat-core APUs are produced at TSMC for the time being. I think Devinder Kumar implied some of the console parts are in production at GloFo, but it doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense - unless they're really struggling with volumes at TSMC I would've thought the cost of porting what is a fairly low-margin part to another foundry on a similar process would be prohibitive. But Kumar does seem to occasionally fumble wording of statements such as those and sometimes contradicts himself because of it. TBH I think I'd have to see silicon from GloFo/Samsung to completely believe it.

But yeah, if AMD are planning to move production of all of their GPUs to GF/Samsung, there don't appear to be any public plans for TSMC in the pipeline. It does seem strange considering historically they do seem to have been about the most consistent foundry, with GloFo leaving AMD up the creek without a paddle more than a couple of times.