First AMD chips from Chartered hit the market

The first AMD processors made by Singapore's Chartered have started shipping.

Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, a contract chip maker in Singapore, has begun shipments of 64-bit processors made for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), the companies said Thursday.

The first AMD processors made by Chartered hit the market in June, just ahead of previously announced plans to ship them during the second half of this year.

The two companies did not specify which processors are being produced by Chartered, other than to say that they are 64-bit chips made using a 90-nanometer process.

This number, measured in millionths of a meter, refers to the size of the smallest feature that can be created on a silicon chip. Smaller is better, as this generally brings a reduction in power consumption, a boost in performance, and a reduction in unit manufacturing costs.

Chartered has been preparing to produce 64-bit processors for AMD since late 2004, when the two companies signed a manufacturing agreement. As part of that agreement, AMD transferred some of its manufacturing know-how to Chartered.

AMD runs its own chip factories and relies on Chartered to supply "flex capacity." The goal is to allow AMD's own factories to operate at maximum capacity throughout the year, while Chartered's output can be modified to handle fluctuations in demand caused by factors like seasonality.

The two companies will extend their cooperation over the next year, with plans to begin producing chips with a 65-nanometer process during the middle of 2007.

In addition to AMD processors, Chartered has a deal to produce PowerPC processor for Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console. These chips will be produced using a 65-nanometer process and will begin shipping during the first quarter of next year, the company said in April.

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