In 2016, AMD hopes for revenge when the company releases news on all fronts. First out, a new graphics generation is expected under the code name “Arctic Islands”, which during the same year is accompanied by the completely new processor architecture Zen. Common to both is the transition to a so-called “FinFET process”, which means either 16 nanometers at TSMC or 14 nanometers at Globalfoundries.
In a press release, Globalfoundries announces that the production of circuits for AMD at 14 nanometers has begun. This is a second generation technology called 14nm Low Power Plus (14LPP), which comes with improvements in performance and energy efficiency compared to 14nm Low Power Early (14LPE). The latter is the technology used for the Galaxy S6 circuit Exynos 7420 from Samsung, which licenses 14 nanometers to Globalfoundries.
FinFET technology is expected to play a critical foundational role across multiple AMD product lines, starting in 2016. […] We look forward to GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ continued progress towards full production readiness and expect to leverage the advanced 14LPP process technology across a broad set of our CPU, APU, and GPU products.
In the same statement, AMD’s chief technology officer, Mark Papermaster, says that the technology has a significant role to play in the company’s upcoming product range in 2016. While many have seen it as a given that Globalfoundries will manufacture AMD’s upcoming Zen processors, it also appears that graphics circuits will be manufactured at 14LPP.
That AMD will manufacture graphics circuits at Globalfoundries is a trend break, as TSMC has traditionally been responsible for that part. However, this does not necessarily mean that the Taiwanese contract manufacturer is excluded, but that AMD, for financial and technical reasons, chooses to manufacture different circuits of the two players.
Globalfoundries will scale up the production of 14LPP for the rest of the year, to be ready in 2016 to mass-produce circuits for AMD, among others.