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Saturday, October 19, 2013
AMD To Make More Advanced Chips In The Coming Quarters

AMD is looking to make chips smaller, faster and more power-efficient through new designs and manufacturing advances. The company plans to transition to both 20-nanometer and to FinFET over the next months.

"Certainly, when we look at cost reduction opportunities, one of the important ones is to move technology nodes," said Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of AMD's global business units during AMD's quarterly earnings call earlie this week. "And the reason to do that is both for pure die cost savings, as well as all the power savings that our customer benefits from."

"We are fully, top-to-bottom in 28-nanometer now across all of our products, and we are transitioning to both 20-nanometer and to FinFET over the next couple of quarters, in terms of designs. So we'll continue to do that across our foundry partners," Su added.

Su was questioned on whether these more efficient chips would also come on the PS4 and Xbox One consoles, both running on AMD chips and due for release next month. She didn't name Sony or Microsoft specifically, but said game consoles and related chips have a life span of five to seven years, and there will be chances to upgrade components while cutting manufacturing costs.

The new consoles have custom chips with eight CPU cores code-named Jaguar and Radeon graphics cores. The chips are being made on the 28-nm process by TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.). TSMC is already making chips using the 20-nanometer process, and in 2015 it will start making chips using 3D transistors using the 16-nm process.

However, both Microsoft and Sony are likely to stick to the similar Jaguar CPU and Radeon GPU cores over the lifetime of their game consoles, as changes in the chips could mean rewriting code in games, especially in the case of advanced 16nm FinFET chips.

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