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GlobalFoundries may seriously expand GPU manufacturing for AMD

GlobalFoundries may significantly expand production of graphics processing units for Advanced Micro Devices next year, according to a new market rumour. If the unofficial information is correct, then GlobalFoundries will produce at least two high-end AMD Radeon graphics chips in 2015.

At present GlobalFoundries produces the bulk of high-performance accelerated processing units and central processing units as well as select GPUs and semi-custom system-on-chips for video game consoles. The majority of AMD graphics processing units are made at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which has partnered with ATI Technologies and AMD for a long time. If a report from Chiphell (which has a mixed track-record when it comes to leaking credible rumours) is correct, then next year AMD will significantly alter its GPU manufacturing strategy.

The Chinese web-site reports that AMD intends to make code-named Bermuda and Fiji graphics processing units using 20nm process technology at GlobalFoundries. Previously it was expected that the code-named Fiji is set to be made using 20nm process technology at TSMC.


Both Bermuda and Fiji GPUs belong to AMD’s Pirate Islands family of products. Exact specifications are unclear, but it is claimed (just like it was said in the first Pirate Islands-related leaks early in 2014) that Bermuda is the new flagship product for enthusiasts that will be 65 per cent faster than the Radeon R9 290X, whereas Fiji will serve performance market and replace the Radeon R9 280/285/280X products.

It is necessary to note that GlobalFoundries’ 20nm fabrication process – the 20 low power mobility (20LPM) – is designed for mobile and consumer electronics applications, not high-performance graphics processors, just like TSMC’s 20nm manufacturing technology. It is unclear which benefits does the technology from GlobalFoundries have, especially keeping in mind that both are gate-last 20nm planar processes aimed at mobile applications.

It is projected that AMD will release its Pirate Islands products in the first half of the year.

Since both Bermuda and Fiji are expected to be high-volume products, GlobalFoundries will benefit significantly from such orders.

AMD did not comment on the news-story.

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KitGuru Says: The rumour about transition of production of leading-edge GPUs to GlobalFoundries should be taken with a grain of salt. While AMD does need to produce some of its GPUs at GlobalFoundries because of IP reuse reasons, it does not need to make all of its GPUs at GF.

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