Reports: TSMC prepping AMD chips for 1H08

November 26, 2007 – A pair of reports from Wall Street analysts suggest Taiwan foundry TSMC will begin production for some AMD microprocessors as soon as 1H08.

Since AMD first laid out plans to shift to a more fab-lite approach, speculation about how and when the company might outsource some of its chip production has been a popular industry exercise, recently focusing on the company’s transition from 200mm to 300mm capabilities at its Dresden, Germany facilities.

Barrons blogger Eric Savitz points to a pair of reports that suggest TSMC may start at least limited production for AMD much sooner than previously anticipated. Caris & Co. analyst Daniel Berenbaum thinks the companies’ relationship is deeper than thought, and pilot production for non-mainstream AMD products, including a standalone CPU and integrated graphics processor/CPU (the raison d’etre for AMD’s acquisition of ATI), both targeting the lowend-PC market, could be ready “much sooner than we had thought likely.”

He noted, however, that the arrangement “falls well short of the radical ‘fab light’ strategy that some were hoping for,” with AMD unable or unwilling to transition its more mainstream processor production to TSMC, and with the sale of an AMD fab to TSMC “unlikely.”

Agreeing that TSMC could be ready for initial production of AMD microprocessors in 1H08 despite “some technical issues remaining,” Lehman Bros. analyst Tim Luke notes that AMD may also be considering other foundry partnership options, including its erstwhile Common Platform Alliance brethren IBM and Chartered.


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