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Copper Athlon hits 900MHz, AMD cranks 1GHz-plus production

As Fab 30 opens, company promises chips on sale in Q2

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AMD says it has already produced a copper interconnect Athlon running "at speeds in excess of 900MHz" at its Dresden Fab 30, which formally opened today. The chip was a pre-production version, but AMD intends to bring copper Athlon production fully on-stream at Dresden later this year. This however will be the qualification process, and from today's announcements it's clear AMD intends to keep users gagging for 1GHz Athlons for a while longer yet. Full scale production will commence over the next few months, and the company doesn't expect "revenue shipments" (i.e. real, live product on sale) until the second quarter of next year. At the fab opening ceremony AMD chairman and CEO Jerry Sanders said Dresden would produce 0.18 micron copper interconnect Athlons running at 1GHz and beyond next year. AMD also said that fab capacity would grow to 5,000 8in wafers per week. The lengthy run-up AMD is giving itself could mean that at last the company is boxing clever. It figures it has a lead over Intel in copper technology (AMD misses no opportunity to describe Dresden as the world's most advanced facility), and it has plenty pent-up demand, so it has the time to work on yields, maximise production and then hit the market in Q2 at full force. And then there's the matter of the Dresden Design Center, the R&D section running alongside Fab 30. At the opening ceremony Sanders made a point of stressing the Center's importance in designing a "total solution... including the processor and the surrounding circuitry." Advanced Athlon chipsets, anyone? ®

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