Around 2013, AMD entered into an extended partnership with a group of companies to create the Heterogeneous Systems Architecture Foundation. These companies mostly ARM licensees and included Samsung, MediaTek, Texas Instruments (Ti), AMD, Imagination, Qualcomm, and even ARM themselves. The group was similar in nature to the one that AMD had with Motorola and Ti back before the Athlon processor came into existence. The partners were all working on technology and resource sharing to make programing for devices simpler. We also saw it as a chance for AMD to offset R&D costs and potentially enter into some beneficial agreements.
When it comes to competing in the CPU market, one of AMD’s big issues has been trying to get to the same process as Intel. Ever since the purchase of ATi by AMD they have always been one (and in some cases two) processes behind. What made this even worse was when AMD hit such bad financial times that they had to sell off their FABs just keep the lights on. They now had to deal with a fledgling foundry company that still had some of the same old managers. This has meant that even when AMD might have a design they were still going to be behind Intel when it came to performance per watt.
According to recent rumors it seems that TSMC and Samsung will be able to push out 14nm full node and 16nm half node FinFET products earlier than anticipated. This is certainly going to be good news for many customers of the two foundry companies including Apple and nVidia.
Today Intel showed off the world first 14nm CPU in the form of the Core M processor. This new chip is geared to be squeezed into ultrabooks, tablets and convertables. The CPU was shown in Asus’ new Transformer T300 Chi. According to Intel this new CPU range will be the most energy efficient they have ever built. We do not have any additional information on the Core M at this time, but we do know it is the first of the Broadwell CPUs and it is also more than likely one of their BGA style CPUs which is hard mounted to the motherboard.
The Irish agency for construction planning An Bord Pleanala approved Intel’s plans to build a new factory for the production of processors. It is a facility in which they should produce processors built on the 14 nanometer process, and should be located in the Intel campus in Leixlip County Kildare.
Intel plans to use 14-nanometer technology in conjunction with the next generation of processors codenamed Broadwell, heirs of the 22-nanometer Haswell which is expected next year. Intel's chief for technology development, Justin Rattner, said that the development of new production technology is progressing according to the plan and that Intel is expected to use this within one to two years. He emphasized that Intel's aggressive development of new production technologies will allow an extension of Moore’s law for the next 10 years. Moore's Law says that the number of transistors and the density of transistors on chips doubles every two years.
Intel is looking to the future even as their newest CPU, the 22nm Ivy Bridge, is taking something of a beating in the media. According to a few slides that have hit daylight Intel is already working on moving some of its FABs to 14nm in preparation for their next generation of CPUs. Of course this is not that big of a deal really, Intel has moved from one process to the next like clockwork (insert “Tick-Tock” joke here).