IBM and Motorola PPC Yields?

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 24, 2003.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001
    MacBidouille claims that IBM's production yields on PowerPC 970's greatly exceed those of Motorola's yields on the PPC 7457.

    According to the French site, IBM is able to produce 105 PPC 970's from a 12" wafer with a 80% certification rate of 1.6-2GHz chips. Motorola, however, is reported to produce 98 G4 PPC's with only 1/5th the yield of IBM on (presumably a similar sized?) wafer.

    These poor yields are claimed to be part of the delay of the PowerBooks, which are speculatively felt to utilize the 7457 processor from Motorola.
  2. arn macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    This is interesting and all... but I don't know what to make of this info.

    Where would they get info on both IBM's and Motorola's yields?

    I guess someone at Apple may know this information...

  3. NNO-Stephen macrumors 6502


    Jun 9, 2003
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    and now we know why Motorola can't ever stick to their plans... and also know why they slipped on the manufacturing list to #11
  4. praetorian_x macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2003
    g5 powerbook. now.

    Moto needs to die.

  5. danielgrenell macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002
    Bronx, NY
  6. stefman macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    I think this just shows how much better IBM is at manufacturing chips than Moto.

    The fact they have higher yields means their manufacturing technique is better and more efficient than Moto. Higher yield would also mean they can sell cheaper, lower reject rate. This would explain why the 970 is not more expensive than the G4 (I'm sure I read that somewhere).
  7. macnews macrumors 6502a


    May 12, 2003
    I agree with Arn, where did they get the specs? They did a good job with the G5, not great, but pretty good so who knows. Maybe they do have some good sources. It certainly would expalin why no PB updates recently. Sucks but explains a little.
  8. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000


    May 18, 2003
    The industry never wants to give out figures of their yields... that way they can have total price control... since they're the only ones to know their true yield... so this has to be B.S.
  9. RHutch macrumors 6502

    May 21, 2003
    Amsterdam, OH
    Right. And Apple wouldn't post the specs to the new G5's on their site a few days before they were officially announced.

    You might be right that they are not publicly available, but these are rumor sites. Bits and pieces of information are gathered from unofficial sources and become stories like this.

    I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it for the reason given.
  10. RoofusPennymore macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2003
    As far as I know moto doesnt have a 12" factory, and probably produces them on 8" wafers. No only that the die size of each chip is most likely different. (I suspect the die for the g5 chips is larger, but will get smaller over time.)

    Unless these numbers have been factored so they are equivelent for those two issues you cant really compare them. I seriously doubt Moto and IBM share that info with each other.

    However yeild rates for usable chips are very telling and are a good example of the work IBM has done with thier new 12" factory. It is day and night between the way IBM makes the chips and Moto makes the chips.
  11. MetallicPenguin macrumors 6502

    Mar 4, 2003
    NC, USA
    Also the story below that shows how long and how much Moto has been slowing Apple down for the last 4 years.
  12. DrGonzo macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2003
    SO if they can only get 1 good chip out of 5, TWENTY PERCENT SUCCESS RATE, isn't this just gunna drive up the price of the powerbooks? Or has Mots track record always been this bad?
  13. eric_n_dfw macrumors 65816


    Jan 2, 2002
    DFW, TX, USA

    Just curious, can/do they take the bad chips (and the unused portions) from those silicon wafers and melt them down into new wafers? Do any of you semiconducter engineers out there know?
  14. RoofusPennymore macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2003
    Re: Wafers

    There are layers upon layers of metals and insulators on those chips. That would all have to be stripped off. To expensive to do that so the best thing you can do is make key chains with them.
  15. robg macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2003
    Florida, USA
    You can learn the yield rates from people that work at the company. No one is going to be proud about anything less than 70% yield though. That is definately something the managerial staff gets fired for.

    And Roofus is right; Mot isn't running on 12" wafers yet. 12" is relatively new technology in the semi world. I believe the first 12" wafer fab opened up in Taipei 18 months ago. Mot isn't really on the cutting edge of the semi world these days.
  16. zac4mac macrumors 6502


    Jun 18, 2002
    near Boulder, CO. USA
    Since the raw material for the chips is sand, it's cheaper to throw 'em out than recycle. So says my friend at Moto - they have a lot of experience in throwing out silicon.
  17. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

    Jul 23, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    Well isn't that what everyone expected? Motorola is a slacker when it comes to chips, and IBM has one of the most funded R&D's in the world. You would think IBM would have a better yield.
  18. robg macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2003
    Florida, USA
    It isn't just that Cap'n...

    Mot was very respectable back in the day but they never looked beyond 6 months. They never worried about updating their fabs or building new fabs. Instead of diverting some profits to R&D/new capital they made the deadly mistake of keeping it all. Now they are trying to use a smaller process on the same equip (it costs about half the price of buying new equip to retool the current ones for a new chip, btw) and it is killing them. They know they are dead in the computer chips industry. They need to cut their losses and abandon the capital and fall back upon other, easier to build, semiconductors.
  19. RoofusPennymore macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2003
    Just look at how many factories moto has closed down in recent years. Compare that to Intel who has built fabs in recent years and even has 12" factories. Despite the downturn.

    I'm really quite surpised that Moto has found it profitable to stay in the semi buisness. They don't seem like they want to stay in the semi business.
  20. RBR2 macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2003
    Or has Moto always been this bad?

    Moto's yields have never been all that great, although they have been better than AMD's in years past. When you are making more bad ones than good ones your costs are just too high.

    I am out of date on Moto's fabs, but they have not kept up in general. The new fab in Taiwan should be their best hope of getting yields up to the level of everyone else.

    Does anyone know if the new Moto chips are to be fabbed in Taiwan?
  21. Orome macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2003
    Glued to my monitor
    Could be contractual agreements holding them in...
  22. 3G4N macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2002
    3rd star to the right
  23. pellucidity macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2003
    Moto are doing just fine, if you factor in that Apple and the desktop are not their priority. They do well in the embedded market. Cheap chips that only run as fast as needed, not faster.

    Apple's problem is that the chips they needed from Moto aren't the same ones Moto could shift in bulk. Hence the G4 doesn't scale because unlike Intel/AMD, Moto isn't willing to invest the money and R&D to push the process. Same reason we have fake DDR- Why should Moto put a faster memory controller on-die when only Apple needs it?

    This is the real reason Apple are better off with IBM. It's not just that IBM are the last game in town for Apple, it's that their goals are the same. Both companies need the chips to scream, to do SMP, and even SMT. Both need fast memory interfaces (not that that is done on-die yet!), and both need fast flexible buses.

    Apple/IBM makes a lot more sense. If a low-end chip (MPC74xx) can't be sped up enough, why not try to cram in a high-end chip (Power4)?

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