AMD hopes to end GPU shortage by late November

Chip maker says foundry ramping up and AMD graphics chips are now moving to PC vendors

Executives at Advanced Micro Devices this week said they are hoping that the company's new 40-nanometer graphics processing units will be in full by the end of the month.

AMD confirmed last week that problems ramping up production of the new chips has forced some PC makers, which it didn't identify, to delay computer shipments.

AMD told Computerworld last week that one of its offshore foundries, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSMC), was struggling to speed up the manufacturing of its 5800 series, 40-nm GPUs. Jim McGregor, an analyst at In-Stat, said last week that the foundry is in full production but so far yields are below expectation.

Matt Davis, a spokesman for AMD, confirmed in a previous interview that TSMC is having issues ramping up chip production, and that PC vendors are being affected as they wait for the GPUs they have been planning to drop into their systems.

"The design is sound. It's just a matter of trying to get TSMC to a point where they can yield. They're feeling the manufacturing crunch," Davis said last week. "We're a little bitter under yield but we're working back into a manufacturing schedule we want for these parts. TSMC can only kick them out so fast at this point."

Dave Baumann, a senior product manager for AMD, said this week that ramping up production of any new chip is an ongoing process, and that he could not say when the 5800 series operation will be running at full capacity. However, he did say that by the end of November, they're expecting a "substantial uptick" in chips coming out of the TSMC fab plant.

Baumann added that AMD is pulling some of its 5800 series GPUs from the retail add-in board market and to get them PC vendors looking to move desktops and laptops out the door in time for the holiday shopping season.

He did note that overall, the "vast majority" of 5800 series sales are generated in the retail add-in board market. Baumann said that many gamers and high-end users are expected to buy the GPUs off the shelf so they can manually upgrade systems.

Last week, McGregor had said that said AMD has a little time to get manufacturing in line before PC vendors start looking for greener pastures and turn to a graphics chip from rival Nvidia .

"It's not something you can move away from overnight," said McGregor. "They're set up for that GPU. They could switch over to Nvidia but it would take some effort. They could switch. It will all depend on how bad the shortage gets."

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
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