Time To Buy AMD?

Posted by Kris | Monday, April 20, 2009 | | 0 comments »

Some news on the semiconductor front. Seems that there are some non-core CPU business entities are trying to usurp Intel's lead in the processor segment. Maybe that the reason why Intel's share is dropping to USD15 today. Besides that the financial is taking a beating even though Bank of America "managed" to beat Q1 earning consensus by clever accounting tactics, which were also employed by other "profitable banks" like Citigroup, JP Morgan, Goldman. 

It is a GOOD idea to tackle Intel's supremacy by investing tons of money developing advanced foundry technologies. (creates a lot more job opportunities for engineers like me) "Smaller chip size & design means low power" - Something Intel touted heavily in Atom. Seen lots of this being sold during last few days PC fair. At RM1300++, it is damn cheap compared to like 10 years ago where a lousy laptop costs like a foot and an arm.(RM6000-7000)

But with that being said, challenging Intel in this front is somehow an double edge sword. You might be able to beat them there but you end up spending a "fortune" getting up the technology and also maintaining the foundries. And you need to have a heavy warchest , in case Intel launches a price war which almost wiped off AMD in the 1st round.

No foundries to maintain is one the key aspect why fabless companies like ALTERA is able to give a nice bonus to its employees during this challenging times.. YEAH!! :) If you look closely at INTEL's earning reports, one of the leading expenses is R&D and foundries/plant maintainance. It is a drag to them during the lean period like now.

IBM Corp. will work with several other businesses, including the recent AMD spinout GlobalFoundries, to create more advanced microchips with smaller features.

The move toward chips with 28-nanometer details is aimed at giant Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC), which is preparing to unveil its own 32-nanometer processors this year.

A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, and a human hair is some 50,000 to 100,000 nanometers across. In semiconductor manufacturing, companies strive to shrink the size of components on their chips, so the smaller the number, the more advanced the technology.

Right now, 45 nanometers is the widespread standard, though Intel is ready to go with its 32-nanometer products this year.

The IBM group says its 28-nanometer chips could be ready for special customers by the second half of 2010. They’d use less power (as much as 20 percent less, according to IBM) and would work better in ever-more-compact mobile devices, extending their battery life.

IBM said the step down from 32-nanometer technology to 28 can be done without expensive redesigns of existing manufacturing processes.

But Intel said in return that it has been working on reducing the size of details etched on chips in steps, from 45 nanometers down to 32 and then down to 22, a natural progression based on the masks used in the manufacturing process. Intel, based in Santa Clara, said the in-between, 28-nanometer step won’t work properly in processor units.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is based in Armonk, N.Y.

GlobalFoundries was spun out of AMD Corp. (NYSE: AMD) earlier this year, with AMD’s chairman, Hector Ruiz, moving over to lead it. GlobalFoundries was created with the government of Dubai and a significant investment from that wealthy Persian Gulf nation.

IBM will also work with Korea’s Samsung and with Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd., Infineon Technologies and STMicroelectronics on the new technology.

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