During the Q&A session for the first quarter 2011 earnings call, AMD’s interim CEO Thomas Seifert made an interesting statement: "We expect several 28-nanometer tape-outs during the current quarter." This was given as a data point to explain the figures AMD projected for their operating expenses in the second quarter. The tapeouts are in line with the projections made during the 2010 Analyst Day as depicted by the slide below.
AMD Fusion APU Roadmap: 28nm tapeout in 2Q 2011, 20nm in 4Q 2012 and 14nm in 4Q 2014
From AMDs side no info was given on which specific silicon taped out or even at which of their contract manufacturers. On the manufacturer side, it could be either TSMC or GlobalFoundries. If historic data is any indication, the bet should be on TSMC. But GlobalFoundries wants to get a cake of the bulk 28nm silicon chip market too. AMD has already stated that they will manufacture APUs and GPUs at the 28nm node at both partners. Current 40nm APU and GPU products are manufactured at TSMC, as GlobalFoundries offers no suitable manufacturing process at this node.
AMD Fusion APUs for 2012: 28nm Krishna and Wichita as enahnced Bobcat for Low Power devices and 32nm SOI Bulldozer-based Trinity APU
On the product side, at least we can rely on some information from industry sources from Far East. According to these the tapeouts include the Krishna and Wichita APU cores, which are the successors of the current Ontario and Zacate based Fusion products. The successors will feature up to 4 cores based on an enhanced Bobcat architecture. The details about the enhancements are unknown. The possibilities include improved CPU cores, turbo mode and updated graphics cores. If you recall the current APU products feature GPU cores based on AMDs Evergreen HD 5000 generation, even if they are branded unter HD 6000 series.
Also some designs of the upcoming Southern Islands GPU generation are taped out as well. While information about these is rather scarce, we can at least explain you what is coming down the pipe. First of all, desktop and mobile parts are split between Islands and a major metro city. In Radeon HD 6000 generation, it was Northern Islands for the desktop (Antilles, Barts, Caicos, Cayman, Turks) and New York for the mobile parts (Brooklyn, Manhattan, etc.). With the 28nm GPUs, desktop parts are codenamed as Southern Islands (i.e. south of equator): Tahiti, New Zealand, Lombok etc, while mobile parts are codenamed Heathrow, Thames, Wimbledon,
Chelsea etc. Reportedly the GPUs will be mere die shrinks of the current HD 6000 series architecture dubbed Northern Islands. Of course due to the smaller silicon structures, higher clock speeds and additional shader units are not out of the question. On the upcoming AMD Fusion ’11 Summit details about AMDs next graphics core should be unveiled. Whether this refers to the 28nm refresh of the current generation or the new architecture scheduled for 2012 remains to be seen.
For the end, we leave you with an image of a 20nm wafer which was shown to us in January of this year, clearly showing that a factory alliance led by IBM and GlobalFoundries has a "horse to run" in the semiconductor manufacturing arena. This process will be the base for AMD’s Fusion APUs coming in 2013 timeframe:
20 nanometar Low-Power High-K Metal Gate Wafer with test patterns – a base for future 20nm parts such as AMD’s Fusion APUs coming in 2013.