Business, Hardware

GlobalFoundries to sign its first non-AMD customer, use 40nm LP process

In a run-up to the groundbreaking of Fab2 in Luther ForestTechnology Park in the state of New York, representatives of GlobalFoundries were doing their best to get the gathered analysts and journalists occupied.

However, in the terms of business, the only thing thatGlobalFoundries really needs to justify its 4.2 billion USD investment is: customers. And for now, the only customer is AMD, whose representatives were also present at the groundbreaking.

The name of first non-AMD customer is being kept a secret, but as it usually happens, we managed to learn the identity of the company. In order to save the skin of our own representative at the site, we’ll only disclose that the customer is going to use the 40nm Low-Power process, and that the customer is indeed in business of making processing chips.

Just not the one of graphics kind, as most of tech journalists were guessing. When you look at the semiconductor industry, whose chips are you going to use if you’re developing new architecture? you won’t go for your own ASIC right away, you’ll use the FPGA’s instead.

The 40nm Low-Power process is a very interesting one, since some GF executives claimed that they came in too late for the 40nm half-node game, but in order to win customers, nothing can be set in stone. Hence, GlobalFoundries is now offering 45nm SOI and Bulk and 40nm Low Power, set to expand with 32nm SOI and Bulk, and the often talked 28nm half-node.

There is a pretty good reason why GlobalFoundries poached Curtis"Mojy" Chan, exactly to build a very close relationship between the customer and the foundry.

Depending on successful execution with this first non-AMD customer, big fishes might catch up. According to our sources, the GlobalFoundries shortlist is very simple’n’sweet: Altera, Freescale Semiconductor, nVidia, Qualcomm,STM, Texas Instruments and Xilinx. Who launches first? We’ll all have to wait for a week or two. Or three.