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GlobalFoundries sacks off 7nm chip work due to ‘lack of demand’

EVER PREPPED A SPREAD for a party to then have less than half the people you were expecting show up? That’s probably how GlobalFoundries feels at the moment.

The chip manufacturer, which was once part of AMD, had a fabrication process geared up for 7-nanometre chips which its customers – including AMD and Qualcomm – were expected to adopt.

But AMD has confirmed that it’s decided to move its 7nm GPU production to TSMC, and Intel is still stuck trying to make chips based on 10nm fabrication.

So GlobalFoundries noted there’s a lack of demand for its 7nm fabrication and that it’ll instead tweak its roadmap to steer it towards getting more stuck into current architectures based on 14nm and 12nm fabrication.

“Demand for semiconductors has never been higher, and clients are asking us to play an ever-increasing role in enabling tomorrow’s technology innovations,” said Tom Caulfield, chief executive of GlobalFoundries.

“The vast majority of today’s fabless customers are looking to get more value out of each technology generation to leverage the substantial investments required to design into each technology node.

“Essentially, these nodes are transitioning to design platforms serving multiple waves of applications, giving each node greater longevity. This industry dynamic has resulted in fewer fabless clients designing into the outer limits of Moore’s Law. We are shifting our resources and focus by doubling down on our investments in differentiated technologies across our entire portfolio that are most relevant to our clients in growing market segments.”

As such, GlobalFoundries will shut up shop on all its 7nm work including research and development into the smaller fabrication processes.

This sadly means there’ll be a decline in research into the fabrication processes needed to support the designs of chips on 5nm and 3nm architectures as, perhaps with the exception of ARM, it doesn’t look like many chip firms will get to those levels anytime soon. Or at least if they do they won’t likely be GlobalFoundries customers.

Arguably, this could mark a stymieing of innovation and cutting-edge designs for chips in the near future. But with processors like AMD’s Threadripper 2990WX overclocked to run at 6GHz across all its 32 cores, in the real-world PC fans have no need to worry about consumer chips running out of puff anytime soon. µ

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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