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AMD hiring staff for IBM East Fishkill plant

65nm joint venture ramps up

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Suggestions that IBM and AMD are getting very cosy indeed have resurfaced over at Silicon Strategies,. It cites industry sources who claim AMD's process engineering groups are being re-located from AMD's Sunnyvale campus in California to IBM's chip HQ in East Fishkill, New York.

The site also reiterates the rumours - which we reported on back in May - that IBM is building a next-generation fab for AMD to which it will hand over the plant upon completion.

It is public knowledge that the two companies are in cahoots over next-generation process technologies. In January, both announced an R&D alliance under which they will co-operate on the development of 65nm and 45nm processes. The deal builds upon both chip makers' jointly held view that copper interconnects, low-k dielectrics and advanced silicon-on-insulator technologies are the way to go.

This work is ramping up. It is based in IBM's Semiconductor Research and Development Center (SRDC) located in East Fishkill, which, incidentally, is also the location of the 130nm fabs punching out 64-bit PowerPC 970s for Apple.

AMD is currently looking at least a dozen process engineers to take up residency in East Fishkill and work on "AMD-IBM Joint Venture" projects. Work involves supporting "transfer [of technology] to AMD production fabs". It is also look for Sunnyvale-based employees to help work on that same transfer of technology to its other sites.

But while there's a clear focus on hiring to support the AMD-IBM JV, there's little to indicate that everything's going to be consolidated in East Fishkill.

That may change in due course, but it seems more likely that the fab work at IBM's site centres on boosting R&D fab capacity; this doesn't preclude a transfer of ownership to AMD. Alternatively, IBM is gearing up to produce 65nm chips on AMD's behalf, just as it is now making G5s for Apple. ®

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