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AMD Adds a Third Foundry for its Fusion APUs: Hello IBM

AMD Trinity Performance Chart

At the recently held Financial Analyst Day held in Sunnyvale, California, AMD disclosed that the company added a third foundry in its manufacturing portfolio – IBM.

After GlobalFoundries and TMSC, AMD executives admitted that the company will use IBM as a third foundry for its Fusion Accelerated Processing Units (APUs): TSMC manufactures 40nm E-Series, W-Series and Z-Series, while GlobalFoundries manufactures 32nm  A-Series (codename: Llano). The manufacturing of standard CPUs (FX, Opteron) remains solely at GlobalFoundries domain.

Trinity, the successor of Llano will be manufactured using 32nm SOI process at both GlobalFoundries and IBM, presumably at IBM's East Fishkill facility in New York State. Two companies are not competitors though. IBM's East Fishkill is the location of former AMD CPU Silicon Design Team, which became GlobalFoundries CPU Silicon Design Team following the manufacturing spin-off in 2008. Following the issues with the manufacturing of Llano, it seems that AMD is moving forward to check GlobalFoundries processes with a different measurement.

This is not a surprising turn of events, since the manufacturing cluster in New York state is practically joined at hip: first revenue 32nm SOI chips manufactured at GlobalFoundries Fab 8 in Malta were for – International Business Machines, i.e. IBM.

The mantra that Rory P. Read, Chief Executive Officer of AMD was saying during his keynote speech was "execute". Remember, AMD lost a breakthrough contract with Apple in the first half of 2011 because the company could not execute and deliver a sufficient quantity of 32nm "Llano" chips. Same thing is with Lenovo, where Rory lead the company since its spun-off from IBM.

Can GlobalFoundries and IBM create enough Trinity chips to avoid the Llano debacle and put AMD inside the major players such as above mentioned Apple and Lenovo? Only time will tell.

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