Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has begun selling the first processors to roll off the company's newest assembly line, located in Dresden, Germany.
The plant, known as Fab 36, is designed to produce 90-nanometer scale chips from 300-millimeter silicon wafers. It is equipped to make both Athlon64 and Sempron processors, said Hans Deppe, an AMD vice president and general manager, during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.
AMD workers in the building next door -- known as Fab 30 -- build Opteron processors on 200-mm wafers.
Company leaders added this new plant to reach their goal of doubling chip production between 2005 and 2008. The Sunnyvale, California, company's "flexible capacity growth plan" calls for AMD to run enough factories to meet growing demand while keeping each plant busy.
AMD had already boosted production at Fab 30 from 20,000 to 30,000 wafers per month, measured from the first quarter of 2004 to the fourth quarter of 2005. At the same time, workers shrunk the chip geometry from 130 to 90 nm and boosted efficiency, allowing them to carve more chips from each wafer, and ship 80 percent more chips overall.
The opening of Fab 36 will enable them to continue the trend, rising from 13,000 wafers per month in 2006 to 20,000 per month in 2007.
The next step is to shrink the architecture of chips manufactured in the new building.
"Fab 36 remains on track to begin 65-nanometer production shipments in the second-half of this year, and be substantially converted to 65-nanometer production by mid-2007," Deppe said.
After that, they will begin producing chips on a 45-nm scale, he said.