Monday, February 22nd 2021

U.S. DoD Partners with GlobalFoundries to Manufacture Chips at Fab 8, Upstate NY

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF), the world's leading specialty foundry, today announced a strategic partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to provide a secure and reliable supply of semiconductor solutions manufactured at GF's Fab 8 in Malta, New York—the company's most advanced semiconductor manufacturing facility. These semiconductor chips will be used in some of the DoD's most sensitive applications for land, air, sea, and space systems.

Under the agreement, GF will provide a supply of chips built at Fab 8 on its differentiated 45 nm SOI platform. The agreement is made possible by Fab 8's compliance with U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and highly restrictive Export Control Classification Numbers under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

The new supply agreement builds upon the longstanding partnership between the DoD and GF to provide chips for defense, aerospace, and other sensitive applications. GF currently supplies the DoD with chips manufactured at GF's other on-shore facilities, Fab 10 in East Fishkill, New York, and Fab 9 in Burlington, Vermont.

"GLOBALFOUNDRIES is a critical part of a domestic semiconductor manufacturing industry that is a requirement for our national security and economic competitiveness," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who successfully passed new federal semiconductor manufacturing incentives in last year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). "I have long advocated for GLOBALFOUNDRIES as a key supplier of chips to our military and intelligence community, including pressing the new Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, to further expand the Department of Defense's business with GLOBALFOUNDRIES, which will help expand their manufacturing operations and create even more jobs in Malta."

In a supporting statement from the U.S. Department of Defense, "This agreement with GLOBALFOUNDRIES is just one step the Department of Defense is taking to ensure the U.S. sustains the microelectronics manufacturing capability necessary for national and economic security. This is a pre-cursor to major efforts contemplated by the recently passed CHIPS for America Act, championed by Senator Charles Schumer, which will allow for the sustainment and on-shoring of U.S. microelectronics capability."

"GLOBALFOUNDRIES thanks Senator Schumer for his leadership, his ongoing support of our industry, and his forward-looking perspective on the semiconductor supply chain," said Tom Caulfield, CEO of GF. "We are proud to strengthen our longstanding partnership with the U.S. government, and extend this collaboration to produce a new supply of these important chips at our most advanced facility, Fab 8, in upstate New York. We are taking action and doing our part to ensure America has the manufacturing capability it needs, to meet the growing demand for U.S. made, advanced semiconductor chips for the nation's most sensitive defense and aerospace applications."

The first chips from this new agreement are targeted to begin delivery in 2023. GF is in ongoing discussions with the DoD regarding Trusted Accreditation for Fab 8.

GF employs nearly 3,000 people at Fab 8, and has invested more than $13 billion in the facility. The company recently announced a land purchase option to provide additional flexibility to expand Fab 8's footprint to support growing demand from the U.S. government and industry customers. In total, GF employs more than 7,000 people across the U.S., and over the past 10 years has invested $15 billion in U.S. semiconductor development.
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11 Comments on U.S. DoD Partners with GlobalFoundries to Manufacture Chips at Fab 8, Upstate NY

#1
destruya
Wonderful, so the fab that AMD dumped after they screwed them over so much and so often is the lowest bidder partner for a "strategic partnership" with DoD.

At least for most applications DoD won't mind 14nm or larger.
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#2
Toothless
Tech, Games, and TPU!
Working for the government, this is no surprise. I bet the contract was cheap and after seeing what's currently being used, yeah. Not surprised at all.
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#3
RandallFlagg
They were planning on this for some time :

www.eetimes.com/gloflo-bets-on-dod-to-revive-u-s-chip-making/#

"The company announced plans in May to implement U.S. export controls at its most advanced fab in Malta, N.Y. The $13 billion expansion of Fab 8 includes compliance with the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations. The company hopes to ultimately scale secure production to the 12-nm FinFET process node."
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#4
Anone
Playing the game-politics triumphs over tech. With Democrats controlling the Senate, need to buy from a plant in the state with influential Democrat senator. Far more important than military having access to up to date technology.
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#5
80-watt Hamster
Anone
Playing the game-politics triumphs over tech. With Democrats controlling the Senate, need to buy from a plant in the state with influential Democrat senator. Far more important than military having access to up to date technology.
There's no such thing as a U.S. senator who's not influential. This stuff happens regardless of party affiliation. I'm just happy to see additional investment in domestic semiconductor manufacturing at all.
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#6
kapone32
Anone
Playing the game-politics triumphs over tech. With Democrats controlling the Senate, need to buy from a plant in the state with influential Democrat senator. Far more important than military having access to up to date technology.
Talk about the effects about the power of propoganda. This is a tech site not political discourse forum.
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#7
Chrispy_
I don't see why AMD isn't backporting some GPU designs to GloFo 12nm anyway.
Sure, TSMC's 7nm allows AMD to build 2.5GHz large RDNA2 parts but surely given that AMD sells everything it makes as fast as it can make them, they can afford to shift mainstream products to GloFo - Navi14 (5500-series) is kind of pointless on TSMC 7nm as it has plenty of potential to be competitive even at only 1500MHz, and it can afford a 25% bump in power consumption that goes with the older process without impacting its market appeal too much. It's used in Desktops almost exclusively with no significant Laptop design wins.

The only direct comparison we have between GloFo 12nm and TSMC 7FF is Vega64 vs Radeon VII which basically showed TSMC's process to produce 200MHz higher clocks for the same power draw. So, deduct 200MHz from the 5500XT and you have a mass-market winner that's cheap to make and still absolutely annihilates the 1050Ti that Nvidia has restarted production on.
Chrispy_
I don't see why AMD isn't backporting some GPU designs to GloFo 12nm anyway.
Sure, TSMC's 7nm allows AMD to build 2.5GHz large RDNA2 parts but surely given that AMD sells everything it makes as fast as it can make them, they can afford to shift mainstream products to GloFo - Navi14 (5500-series) is kind of pointless on TSMC 7nm as it has plenty of potential to be competitive even at only 1500MHz, and it can afford a 25% bump in power consumption that goes with the older process without impacting its market appeal too much. It's used in Desktops almost exclusively with no significant Laptop design wins.

The only direct comparison we have between GloFo 12nm and TSMC 7FF is Vega64 vs Radeon VII which basically showed TSMC's process to produce 200MHz higher clocks for the same power draw. So, deduct 200MHz from the 5500XT and you have a mass-market winner that's cheap to make and still absolutely annihilates the 1050Ti that Nvidia has restarted production on. Hell, a 1250MHz 5500XT that consumed 175W is a very pessimistic worst-case scenario and it would still be ~50% faster than any 1050-series card.
Posted on Reply
#8
80-watt Hamster
Chrispy_
I don't see why AMD isn't backporting some GPU designs to GloFo 12nm anyway.
Sure, TSMC's 7nm allows AMD to build 2.5GHz large RDNA2 parts but surely given that AMD sells everything it makes as fast as it can make them, they can afford to shift mainstream products to GloFo - Navi14 (5500-series) is kind of pointless on TSMC 7nm as it has plenty of potential to be competitive even at only 1500MHz, and it can afford a 25% bump in power consumption that goes with the older process without impacting its market appeal too much. It's used in Desktops almost exclusively with no significant Laptop design wins.

The only direct comparison we have between GloFo 12nm and TSMC 7FF is Vega64 vs Radeon VII which basically showed TSMC's process to produce 200MHz higher clocks for the same power draw. So, deduct 200MHz from the 5500XT and you have a mass-market winner that's cheap to make and still absolutely annihilates the 1050Ti that Nvidia has restarted production on.
That's honestly a pretty cool idea, but might be more risk than AMD is willing to take on. There's still upfront R&D time and cost, and there's no way to know when the crypto market will correct itself and make all that pointless. (It wouldn't likely affect Fab 8 anyway, which is the topic of this particular thread.)
Posted on Reply
#9
RandallFlagg
Chrispy_
I don't see why AMD isn't backporting some GPU designs to GloFo 12nm anyway.
Sure, TSMC's 7nm allows AMD to build 2.5GHz large RDNA2 parts but surely given that AMD sells everything it makes as fast as it can make them, they can afford to shift mainstream products to GloFo - Navi14 (5500-series) is kind of pointless on TSMC 7nm as it has plenty of potential to be competitive even at only 1500MHz, and it can afford a 25% bump in power consumption that goes with the older process without impacting its market appeal too much. It's used in Desktops almost exclusively with no significant Laptop design wins.

The only direct comparison we have between GloFo 12nm and TSMC 7FF is Vega64 vs Radeon VII which basically showed TSMC's process to produce 200MHz higher clocks for the same power draw. So, deduct 200MHz from the 5500XT and you have a mass-market winner that's cheap to make and still absolutely annihilates the 1050Ti that Nvidia has restarted production on.
I think that is what Nvidia is doing with its widely panned move to start making 2060 GPUs again.

All this talk about lower nm numbers and new GPUs, while the top 4 GPUs on Steam are 1060, 1050 Ti, 1650, and 1050 which collectively hold around 27%. PC games won't advance much until the bulk of users are on newer gen GPUs (not necessarily 3xxx or 6xxx series), and a 2060 is way way faster than any of those top 4. 12nm still has a role to play.
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#10
Selaya
Chrispy_
I don't see why AMD isn't backporting some GPU designs to GloFo 12nm anyway.
[ ... ]
Or you know, could just repost the RX580, its performance is about on par with the 5500XT's
Posted on Reply
#11
Anone
Actually RX590 was last GF--slighly faster than 580 due to 12nm. Given manufacturing cost, this would only be competitive while better designs are out of stock. ALL foundries are backlogged and have enough to keep busy for now so not sure GF would offer AMD competitive pricing to make this worthwhile.
Porting RDNA design to a new foundry(RDNA was designed for TSMC) would take significant engineering rework. The work would have little long run value and divert engineers busy on coming out with next models. AMD does not have the redundant engineers to do this.
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