Anandtech: “AMD and GlobalFoundries Update Wafer Supply Agreement: Orders Through 2024, Now Non-Exclusive”

1 : Anonymous2021/05/14 00:17 ID: nbvn0g
Anandtech: "AMD and GlobalFoundries Update Wafer Supply Agreement: Orders Through 2024, Now Non-Exclusive"
2 : Anonymous2021/05/14 04:48 ID: gy2d2xd

I’m confused by everything the post and the comments. Is this good or bad for amd supply chain

ID: gy2jzmr


This was secured long ago.

Basically, AMD and GloFo have had a many-year agreement for minimum wafers bought by AMD and some exclusivity requirements.

They renegotiated the last 3 years of the deal. AMD was able to get 'ulocked' and can now buy from anyone else as well. As a concession for giving AMD that, GloFo had to get something in return. It was either extending the deal from spring 2024 to EOY 2024, or an increase in the commitment or price per wafer. AMD got something they wanted, GloFo got something else in return. We weren't given full details, but deals like this are always give and take between the parties negotiating.

ID: gy2pxfs

More like GloFo dropped 7nm node which put them in bad spot and they could not hold fully to the previous agreement. AMD got more freedom to use lower than GloFo nodes.

ID: gy2iuvq

It doesn't mean much for the supply chain. AMD is manufacturing I/O dies and the X570 chipset (which is the same as a Ryzen I/O die), as well as older chips (Zen+ based) at GlobalFoundries. The real pressure is at TSMC, where AMD is making the latest gen products.

ID: gy34nlq

given the supply at TSMC now, feels like they should left the quad core market to Zen+ APU. that APU is a fine APU for 1-2 more years at low end market.

3 : Anonymous2021/05/14 06:45 ID: gy2m6qd

What AMD will do with this is an interesting question. For now I guess that the I/O dies for Zen, TR and EPYC are mostly enough, but it's rumoured that Zen 4 won't use a 12/14nm I/O die, which could mean that 2023-2024 will have a real drop in GF wafer use.

I'm wondering if AMD has any intention to use GF's processes for a mainstream product line. AMD hasn't utilised the latest GF process, and while 12LP+ isn't on par with TSMC 7nm, it's still better than what AMD has used, and is, far as I could find, about as dense as Intel's 14nm, which isn't bad. AMD could probably make some entry level APUs or GPUs there.

ID: gy300sh

Exactly! What i could see AMD doing is to go after other APU improvements that keep the chips viable. A lot of operating system functionality and app performance doesn't scale well beyond 4 - 8 cores but things like an improved video CODEC can have a huge impact on a processor viability for many users. The deletion of legacy GPU tech and substituting RDNA 2 is another way to leverage an older process and push AMD past the chip shortage issue at TSMC.

Another aspect that is shaping up to be a big market is the various processors used in automobiles. Often this requires that the processor be built on a more reliable tech, that is a proven and well understood technology. The fact is most users of transportation would be pretty pissed off if their computers had to be replaced every 5 -10 years. This could be a very lucrative place to be for AMD and Global and is a market most in the enthusiast space don't even know about.

I just don't see an issue when it comes to demand for the next couple of years.

4 : Anonymous2021/05/14 02:37 ID: gy2023f

GF still needs to do something other than sit on the sidelines

ID: gy21nde

How are they sitting on the sidelines? They are doing quite well financially now

ID: gy225d4

They could do a smaller node with less of an expense to develop at this point. TSMC is only going to have but so much capacity, but companies will eventually need a smaller node.

It's the exact reason why Intel is opening up it's fabs. There's a huge gap of people that won't need to be on 3nm but need something smaller than 12nm

ID: gy2fqhy

They aren't on the sidelines. New nodes aren't everything. There are a half dozen other foundries out there also making older nodes at various stages. Most of those used to be leading edge too -- GloFo was the fourth-to-last to be cutting edge. One of a small few that make FinFET transistors at all.

If you don't dump cash into R&D on new nodes, old ones are very profitable. AND there is innovation to apply there to the many niche markets. Many applications simply can't go too small anyway (I/O and power delivery)

How many chips in the latest iPhone are made on the latest nodes? Most? NOPE. Most of the silicon is on older nodes. The CPU gets the headlines, but its just the most expensive piece of silicon.

ID: gy3cdg3

Yep. Think about how many MCUs and SOC are out there that simply don't need the newest nodes. It's most chips probably.

ID: gy2hky2

Thank you for sharing this insight.

ID: gy2twcy

GF with the help of other interested parties are investing into photonics.

ID: gy3c6fh

Feel like we're at least a decade from seeing anything but small niche products from that

5 : Anonymous2021/05/14 03:37 ID: gy26ea1

People need to remember that AMD has more than state of art processors in its line up. As for Global I suspect they will simply skip 7nm at this point and try to develop a 5nm process. There is plenty of market potential at the smaller geometries but it is very expensive to be on the bleeding edge. Instead they will likely pick up technology a couple of years after it moves to the mainstream.

ID: gy2h1us

They have repeatedly said they won't compete at the cutting edge

ID: gy2mhh5

They said that, but they're working on a full scale quantum computer now which is pretty cutting edge!

ID: gy2julm

Not anytime soon at least. They said it's possible if they reach that scale again, so maybe the next cycle in 4+ years :p

ID: gy2l5oa

As for Global I suspect they will simply skip 7nm at this point and try to develop a 5nm process.

Nope. There is no below 7nm without EUV and GF has zero EUV machines nor expertise in that field.

They are legacy node only for now, which is fine, as costs are low and there's still high demand.

ID: gy2xk81

GF's 7nm was from IBM IIRC, and IBM is already on "2nm", no reason they couldn't license another process (though IIRC, they are both owned by the same parent company, or something).

ID: gy2r7s5

Tsmc/samsung already produce 7nm without euv Atleast some layers

ID: gy2d5wh

Where do you get that Globalfoundries is going to 5nm?

ID: gy2mz6k

I'm guessing he means in the distance future as in miss 7nm and go to 5nm when it is no longer bleeding edge.

ID: gy2g3xz

The IO chips used on Ryzen processors were still 14nm. Those would definitely need an upgrade.

ID: gy2ou76

Depends on what you want to accomplish with that, because Zen 3 is just doing fine power efficiency wise compared to the competition and it isn't needed for the chips that need to have the lowest idle power consumption. Also, 14nm isn't stuck forever at the same power efficiency, there will be always small improvements on the node (see 14nm+++++) that GF will achieve and which can be turned into advantages when designing the chip

ID: gy2gh7m

Next gen IO will be TSMC N6, leaked by @ExecuFix on twitter IIRC

ID: gy2nvqc

Global I suspect they will simply skip 7nm at this point and try to develop a 5nm process.

They've given up on developing new nodes years ago, if I got it right, now they are only into licensing existing tech from other fabs.

ID: gy2j2pu

Maybe they will buy equipment to do 7nm or 5nm at a discount after other manufacturers (TSMC, Samsung) upgrade theirs.

ID: gy2wkyw

It's gonna take quite a while before TSMC or Samsung properly move on from these nodes.

ID: gy2vsi1

Instead they will likely pick up technology a couple of years after it moves to the mainstream.

The costs of setting up fabs is still the problem. Being a couple years late to the party isn't gonna change that much.

6 : Anonymous2021/05/14 04:36 ID: gy2bztb

Really can't imagine AMD needing $1.6 billion worth of dies in 2022-2024. While it's probably structured more like $750M -> $500M -> $350M (pure speculation), they'll only be producing long term commitments like enterprise and embedded chips, i/o for 7nm (which will probably still be sold due to it being a lot cheaper than 5nm), chromebook chips, and RX 580s until the chip shortage is over.

Who knows, maybe AMD anticipates needing a few hundred million dollars worth of Polaris dies in 2022 /s.

ID: gy2jq79

Well, Milan/Rome will eat up a good chunk of that. However, even if an Epyc I/O die cost $50, that would be 10M units, which seems high. 10M epyc CPUs would be something like 20B revenue.

I wonder if they will use this for any 'layer' of a 3d chip stacking variant. Could they make interposer layers with some cache or logic on them for Zen 4, a future CDNA, or RDNA3? Or would something like that use all TSMC layers?

ID: gy2zbfp

AMD is selling a lot of chips that still use older tech. I don't see a huge problem here for demand. The AM4 platform will not die off instantly, even though I suspect AM5 with DDR5 will be very compelling. Even in this fan boy forum there are people still building systems with older tech for a variety of reasons, not every build needs to be high performance.

In fact I wouldn't be surprised to see AMD offer an upgrade to older APU style chips to support a better video CODEC as that is often the most important part of a build. Doing so means a competitive chip for a niche that can be built on a legacy node bypassing the chip shortage issue.

ID: gy2etz4

They AMD just launch their wifi module? They could just make it on Glofo.

ID: gy2ti9m

It's rebranded from mediatek and mediatek make it

7 : Anonymous2021/05/14 09:27 ID: gy2wu9r

Zen 2 and 3 IO Die are 12nm. And I am assuming the die that will connect together the rumored chiplet GPUs will also be 12 nm. x570 and b550 chipsets are also made with 12nm. I dont think AMD will switch the chipset node for Zen 4. AMD has use for GloFo. Nothing big to see here.

ID: gy34kjw

Zen 4's Epyc almost has to get off 12nm.

So it's possible that consumer Zen 4 stays with a 12nm I/O die, but I doubt it.

I think AMD would honestly rather just write GloFo a big check and say, "Sorry, dont need it" than keep limiting their products with an inefficient I/O die, which will just get ever more inefficient the more that AMD need to do with it.

8 : Anonymous2021/05/14 15:52 ID: gy424b6

Still, it’s somewhat difficult to imagine AMD needing over a billion dollars in last-gen logic and I/O dies going into the next three years. In 2019 we remarked that “AMD's needs for such a large node (or GlobalFoundries' other specialized nodes) in the 2022-2024 timeframe are not nearly as obvious” and that remains true to this day.

That's the billion dollar question: What is AMD going to do with 1.6 billion dollar in last-gen logic?

9 : Anonymous2021/05/14 02:54 ID: gy21ys4

Oh no, dont tell me until 2024 we'll be staying with 12nm?

ID: gy25oju

AMD needs some 12nm capacity at least that long for long term support.

ID: gy2c7wl

Yeah they actually sold a decent number of 14/12nm laptops with the Pro LTS chips in them (thinkpads, elitebooks)

ID: gy22smk

AMD is already on 7nm? So what are you talking about here. This just means that AMD has to buy wafers from GlobalFoundries until 2024, or pay them anyway (plus probably some sort of penalty?). AMD will have use for older nodes until 2024 for IO stuff.

ID: gy27ugu

Chipsets for motherboards, as well.

Edit: And AMD recently purchased Xilinx, so I assume that some of their products could be designed for and produced by GloFo. A lot of their produces are no where near needing cutting edge nodes.

ID: gy23hs8

Exactly, I meant the IO. Zen3 uses the same IO as Zen2 on GF 14nm (I said 12nm before, mb) which kinda sucks.

IIRC 4700G (an APU based completely on 7nm including IO) can achieve 2200 IF without issues.

ID: gy272aq

Call me crazy and perhaps I don't know how any of this works, but perhaps it wouldn't be bad if amd just rush some sort of watered down 12nm or w.e glofo can produce to fill the $150-$300 MSRP en masse to alleviate the constrained production to supply from tsmc.

ID: gy27xed

My dream is that AMD ports RDNA2 to 12nm and releases an RX 480 replacement in huge quantities that people can actually buy.

ID: gy35bmi

those quad core Zen+ APU is some serious good chip if they can sell cheap. Nothing to wrong with those Zen+ APU, drop in a dGPu you can run most games pre-2017. It is also a decent web browsing machine

10 : Anonymous2021/05/14 05:57 ID: gy2io81

I dont understand what this means and why is this important.

Can someone explain this to me?

ID: gy3484f

AMD/ATI used to do their own node development and fabrication(ala Intel). This was expensive and hurt AMD's ability to be profitable, so they spun off their fabrication division into a separate company, which they ultimately called Global Foundries. As separate companies, they could work independently from one another, BUT, part of this also involved an agreement for AMD to keep buying GloFo wafers(the WFA, or Wafer Supply Agreement). This meant AMD's own designs were still limited to how good GloFo's processes were. And as GloFo continually lacked competitiveness, this became a problem.

So amendments to the agreement were put in place that basically gave AMD a bit more freedom to pursue other processes from other companies, while still ensuring that GloFo was getting their money. So like, one of the earlier terms would have been that if AMD bought 'x' supply from another manufacturer, they had to pay GloFo a certain percentage on top of that deal. It could also stipulate which competitors AMD could use and whatnot.

But gradually, more amendments were put in place to give AMD more and more freedom. AMD invested a lot into TSMC, particularly for Ryzen, hoping this would boost their products to top competitiveness, but obviously still needed to adhere to their contract with GloFo, so this was a big, expensive risk. But it worked. This new amendment is more a continuation of the last one, which basically gives AMD total freedom to use whatever they want now, with no extra compensation to GloFo or anything, but AMD still have to be a GloFo customer to a certain level up til 2024. After 2024, the agreement ends and both companies will basically be entirely free from one another.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x