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View Full Version : AMD & IBM to develop future chips


Forevercoolin
Jan 8, 2003, 03:50 PM
Found this interesting article:


SUNNYVALE, Calif. (CBS.MW) -- AMD has turned to IBM for help in pushing its microchips to advanced technologies during the next several years.

The two companies announced a joint-development agreement with undisclosed financial terms on Wednesday that lets AMD access IBM's leading-edge East Fishkill, N.Y., research and development plant.

Analyst Eric Rothdeutsch with Friedman, Billings, Ramsey said this deal gives AMD a good path as IBM is the leader in developing advanced process technology. "AMD benefits more by having IBM as a partner."

Rothdeutsch said IBM will benefit by getting to test out its advanced processes on high-volume microprocessors, the brains of computers. He also said IBM probably will receive a certain amount of cash from AMD.

AMD will work with IBM to develop chips with transistors spaced 65 nanometers and 45 nanometers apart. The chips will be manufactured on 12-inch wafers.

The current industry standard is 180 nanometers while the most advanced chips have transistors spaced 130 nanometers apart. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.

The tighter transistors are spaced, the more efficiently a chip operates. However, it is expensive and difficult to develop processes capable of manufacturing these advanced chips.

"This deal fulfills two primary things for us: we are delivering the best performance and functionality to our customers while doing it at reduced costs," said AMD spokesman Rob Keosheyan.

AMD said it should be producing chips at 90-nanometer spacing by the end of this year and that chips stemming from the IBM development agreement at 65 nanometers should debut in 2005.

Tom Smith, analyst with Standard & Poor's, said AMD bolsters its technology profile with this deal, especially since its main competitor, Intel (INTC: news, board), is the largest chip company in the world. "AMD has consistently had trouble going up against the Goliath that is Intel," Smith said.

The deal allows both companies to take jointly developed technology back to their own plants or manufacturing partners.

AMD has a pact with Taiwanese foundry United Microelectronics (UMC: news, board) to build an advanced semiconductor plant in Singapore. The plant would cost about $3 billion and is scheduled to open in 2005 but the future of it has been in question due to AMD's financial situation.

AMD's Keosheyan said the UMC deal is still valid, although the joint development aspect of it is being "wound down." He also said the foundry arrangement remains in place, but that AMD is evaluating its options regarding the actual fabrication plant.

This agreement could set up IBM in a position to become a foundry for AMD. The AMD spokesman would not comment on that possibility but IBM has been active in pushing its foundry operations since opening its East Fishkill factory.

IBM currently ranks as the world's fourth largest semiconductor foundry. It also manufactures its own broad array of semiconductors and ranks 12th in the world as a supplier of chips.

The foundry part of IBM's microchip business is expected to grow as Big Blue proves its capability on advanced process technologies, which are very difficult and expensive to develop.

"We're definitely seeing really good demand for our advanced process technologies," said IBM spokesman Scott Sykes. "Silicon-on-insulator is really important for advanced chips and we do it really well. These are the kinds of things that are attracting customers for us."

topicolo
Jan 8, 2003, 06:29 PM
This makes the rumor about Apple working with AMD to introduce Marklar when Microsoft introduces Palladium more believeable. Maybe Apple's really going to shift their entire lineup from PPC to x86 in 1 or 2 years?

satanicpoptart
Jan 8, 2003, 06:35 PM
or perhaps amd will develop ppc chips with ibm? even better.

iSmell
Jan 8, 2003, 07:11 PM
It sounds like they're just co-developing the means to produce chips, not the chips themselves. To infer some new Apple-AMD-IBM partnership from this announcement is pure speculation. But I guess that's what we do here, so on with the thread...

ibjoshua
Jan 8, 2003, 07:24 PM
The last time anyone suggested that IBM and AMD might work together they were highly criticised. I hope now they feel vindicated.

This could certainly lead to good things for Apple.

i_b_joshua

barkmonster
Jan 8, 2003, 07:49 PM
IBM will have even more resources to use towards making even faster versions of the PowerPC line!

I was under the impression they'd already licenced some PowerPC technology (SOI maybe ?) to AMD a few years back, this is excellent news.

bluecell
Jan 8, 2003, 08:26 PM
I could definitely see AMD developing PowerPC. Hector Ruiz was, after all, the president of Motorola's semiconductor unit before becoming CEO of AMD. With Motorola pretty much out of the picture, IBM could use some competition. The more options for Apple, the better.

freemidnight
Jan 8, 2003, 10:43 PM
AMD has always (almost) being a "imitation" or alike situation.

Big blue is almost the only one investing in fundamental reasearch.

So what's the deal with AMD exept the fact that they copy intel's architecture!:o

lmalave
Jan 8, 2003, 11:54 PM
Originally posted by freemidnight
AMD has always (almost) being a "imitation" or alike situation.

Big blue is almost the only one investing in fundamental reasearch.

So what's the deal with AMD exept the fact that they copy intel's architecture!:o

Give AMD more credit - they have a lot of talented engineers and they're competing quite well with intel considering they have only a small fraction of Intel's resources.

As I understand it, this is more of a knowledge-sharing partnership. IBM can share research from its labs, AMD can share production methodologies and such. Basically, it's an "Anyone but Intel" partnership...

Booga
Jan 8, 2003, 11:59 PM
Originally posted by freemidnight
So what's the deal with AMD exept the fact that they copy intel's architecture!:o

Your comment would have been largely correct up until AMD released the Athlon. Previous to that, not only was AMD an Intel cloner, but they actually licensed many of their early chip designs directly from Intel. The Athlon was a truly original piece of work that raised the bar for chip architecture for years to come, and caused Intel to push ahead their schedule significantly. It compared favorably to the Pentium Pro architecture, but used very different approaches. To this day, the Pentiums and Athlons are alike only in basic operating principles and instruction sets. And with the divergent IA64 vs x86-64 battle brewing, the latter is not likely to stay true indefinitely (and my money will be on x86-64.)

Who knows, if it wasn't for AMD's competition, x86's might be as slow as PowerPCs are today. :)

awulf
Jan 9, 2003, 12:44 AM
Maybe AMD is after the PPC 970, on how to make it into a x86. Because it could be faster than their Hammer.

butlerca
Jan 9, 2003, 06:56 AM
AMD's CPUs (Athlon and above) are based largely on RISC technology/ideals. If you have noticed (most of you probably havent) AMD has a problem just like the powerpc platform. Performance is going way way up, but the clockspeed is not. That is way they introduced a very successful PR-Rating System. So the public can figure out that a Athlon at 1.736GHZ (PR2100+) is acutally equivilant to a P4 2.1GHZ, etc.

Intel has pull a big stunt. They know people care about clock speed because they are the ones who made it so important via marketing. So Intel crated a processor that doesnt scale in preformance, it scales in clock speed (clockspeed does not always mean preformace). AMD is staying in the game because they have the opposite approach, they have lower clockspeeds but higher (in some cases MUCH higher) performance......and being at a lower price helps as well.

Tim Flynn
Jan 9, 2003, 09:12 AM
IBM and AMD getting together is very interesting.
The architecture of PCs and Macs are very similar. The only real difference is the "endianess" of the processors. Darwin is available for x86, but Aqua is not. I think Apple does have a version of OS X running on a x86 machine, but there are many reason not to release it.
Now lets look at the similarities between IBM 970 and AMD Opteron.
- both use Hypertransport.
- both have the memory controller on "chip"
- both are dual mode 32/64 bit processors.
- both competing with Intel.

The only real difference is the endianess!
The future looks :cool:

mischief
Jan 9, 2003, 04:26 PM
1: Both IBM and AMD's main product lines are RISC... NOT x86. AMD's chips use a top-layer emulator to use the x86 call sets but then uses completely different calls to do the work.

2: Marklar IS NOT OS X FOR X86. It's a version of Darwin BSD for x86. APPLE WILL NEVER SWITCH TO X86. GET OVER IT. X86 IS THE WALKING DEAD OF CHIPS.

3: AMD has already re-licensed the current PPC architecture from IBM in the last 6 months. AMD working with IBM just shows the potential for AMD taking over PPC production from Moto which would only be positive.

Tim Flynn: Bingo.:D :D

barkmonster
Jan 9, 2003, 07:48 PM
The architecture of PCs and Macs are very similar. The only real difference is the "endianess" of the processors.

The one with the stylish appearance and the "big endian" will always be something the rest just WISH they were :D

I don't know a thing about low level coding by the way, just read the odd article on PowerPC chips over the past few years. I do think that AMD and IBM together could be Intel's worst nightmare and a well needed kick up the arse for Motorola aswell.