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AMD strikes back at Kay Nine's article

Letter FAQs is FAQs, executive claims
Tue Sep 24 2002, 15:22
WE HAVE RECEIVED the following letter in reply to an article we published last week called AMD's Dresden fab is reason for delays, written in a quote/reply format. Quotes in bold...

Why was the XP 2600+ introed as a complete surprise?
The introduction of this part at this time has been on our roadmaps since time began (ok, almost). Not really a surprise after all really.

Why is it still not available from the grey market?
Because it has only just been released to the general market. You don't get trading in sub-channels until the part exists in the main channels - also not surprising at all really.

The Dresden facility was originally built with one clean room for a Cu process. The first samples, then K6-2, were made in November 1998 but never hit the streets - the yields were just too low.
Dresden never built any K6-2's, that's why they never hit the streets.

It took till October 1999 for the first Athlons to be produced in Dresden.
The first Athlons were built in Fab 25 (Austin Tx) not Dresden. The manufacture of Athlons was only started in Dresden when we needed that level of manufacturing volume - no other reason.

The plant has become a kind of all-purpose-playground for AMD
If he wants to call a two billion dollar plant that has won "WW Fab of the Year" twice an "all purpose playground" then I suppose that's up to him (or her of course).

....and AMD lost part of its market share according to Mercury
Mercury measures units sold. Dataquest measures PCs bought. DQ shows that we have a flat market share comparing Q2/01 and Q2/02. Anyway, I'm not sure what this has to do with supposed fab problems

AMD introed the Tbred at 1.46 MHz as a mobile part first in April 2002. Why mobile? My guess is, because there is little demand there.
T'bred was first introduced into the mobile market because of its much lower power consumption which made it comparatively more attractive than in the desktop segment.

Many people predicted the final product (talking about Hammer) to ship at the end of the year.
Very impressive predictive capabilities of the author - this was AMD's publicly stated position at the time.

Even if AMD would intro Clawhammer at only 1.6GHz and 3400+, as was rumoured since the original announcement, it would have to double the clock speed from the prototypes in six months. It seems highly unlikely this was possible given that Fab 30, currently AMD's only plant to make the SOI Hammers, was always slow in ramping up clock speeds and never had good yields with a brand new design.
I can't even think where to start with this one, it is so filled with uninformed comment. First, why does he pick 1.6Ghz/3400+ at introduction? There is no reason other than speculation which just happens to fit his argument and we haven't said what our launch performance target is. The prototypes that he talks about were first silicon (actually very first silicon - no mean feat) and bear no relation (in terms of performance) to first product. Why is it 'highly unlikely'. The semiconductor industry doesn't give out "Fab of the Year" accolades to plants that are "slow in ramping up clock speeds and never had good yields". Dresden is (and always has been) a great fab that beats expectations.

Richard Baker
European Marketing Manager, AMD


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