AMD will develop a 20nm process

AMD has confirmed that it is developing chips that would be made using 20nm manufacturing technology and will press ahead with fabrication processes that include those with FinFET transistors.

There had been talk of AMD slowing down moving to different processes, as no one seems to be buying PC chips right now.

But Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of global business units at AMD  said that this year all of AMD products are made using 28nm across graphics, client and semi-custom business.  But it was in the design phase of creating a new 20nm product line and that will come to production. Then, the company would adopt FinFET.

Su did not exactly say which AMD chips would be the first to adopt the 20nm fabrication process, but that the new breed of low-power accelerated processing units, code-named Beema and Mullins, are about to enter the market. Beema and Mullins are low-power APUs which use 28nm process technology so it is likely that the Kaveri  APU models will be the first to move to 20nm.

She also did not officially confirm that we would see the first 20nm AMD Radeon GPUs later this year but the fact she used the words coming “to production” may hint on the plan that we should see them in the shops soon.

Su has confirmed that the company plans to move its product line to process technologies that take advantage of FinFET transistors, but Su did not reveal whether the company plans to move to 14nm XM hybrid FinFET process technology ot 16nm FinFET.   This would give some clues as to who will be making the chip.  The 14nm FinFET is used by GlobalFoundries and Samsung while the 16nm FinFET/16nm FinFET+ fabrication process is developed by TSMC.

The indication is that it will be GloFlo and Samsung, as Su was waxing lyrical about Global Foundries pact with Samsung. She said that it was good for the industry and it is good for AMD relative in getting FinFETs to market sooner.

This is a turn around on AMD’s position a couple of years ago when it was telling the world+dog that it did not need the latest process technologies to succeed on the market. It seems that it has woken up and realised that it is going to get a good kicking from Intel, Qualcomm and other makers of system-on-chips for media tablets if it does not pull its famous finger out.