Judging by slides AMD’s CEO, Lisa Su, presented during their 2017 Financial Analyst Day, the company has aggressive plans advancing to 7nm manufacturing process technology. In this context it’s interesting to see that consumer and server CPUs as well as the graphics parts are to adopt the new process within the same time frame.
Although the graphs that were presented by AMD, the roadmaps seems to show that somewhen during 2018, AMD is planning to present a refined Zen architecture. This actually goes by the name “Zen 2” and next to improvements regarding the architecture the process technology is supposed to advance to 7nm.
The same timeframe appears to apply for the server parts and the graphics chips as well, which makes this a rather aggressive goal. At this same time it’s worth mentioning that AMD is still tied by amendments to Globalfoundries. The current contracts with the spin-off are to last until 2020. The interesting bit about these contracts is the fact that whenever AMD buys wafers from another silicon producer, which is usually TSMC, they have to pay an amount that could be considered a fine to Globalfoundries.
As it happened a few times in the past Globalfoundries wasn’t really on the forefront regarding the development of new process technologies. We would even go thus far saying that Globalfoundries was holding AMD back in regards to releasing competitive products. For example it took Globalfoundries ages until they finally had a new node ready, which was smaller than 32nm - thinking back to the Bulldozer years.
Bottom line, this makes us hope that this “bad deal” with Globalfoundries is not going to cost AMD so much that they will end up reporting red numbers by the end of whichever quarter - again. Nevertheless the bad thing about this whole situation is the fact, that usually TSMC is a much more competitive chip manufacturer than Globalfoundries and this might mean in the end that AMD won’t really have another choice than making TSMC manufacture their chips and thus paying “the fine” to Globalfoundries.