Global Foundries makes Fab 2 official

Worst kept secret north of Albany

ON JUNE 23, 2006, AMD announced that they would be building a fab in upstate New York. Three years later at Semicon, Global Foundries made the official announcement that their Fab 2 will have a groundbreaking on July 24, 2009.

At a luncheon yesterday, Norm Armour, General Manager of Fab 2 made it official, and we are now just over a week away from golden shovel wielding dignitaries wearing ill-fitting hard hats. What was AMD Fab fortysomething is now officially under construction, ceremonies notwithstanding.

The timeline is to be pouring concrete and erecting steel this month, unlike some semiconductor projects, it isn’t going to be a soft launch. Around the end of the year, maybe in early 2010, the structure will be completed, basically the roof is on and bulldozers are no longer menacing the executive limos pulling up.

That is the easy part, the harder work, getting it equipped, will take almost another year, Glofo is saying late 2010 before the fab can process initial test wafers. If you have ever been to a construction site, they tend to be dusty, noisy, and have piles off ‘stuff’ lying about. This is not a good environment to make a sub-micron structure in. Going from cement dust and wood chips to Class 100 cleanroom is much harder than welding an I-beam.

For the next year, tools will be qualified, bugs worked out, and yields raised. The first production wafers are set to come out of the door in late 2011. The burning question is what process node will it be on? If you look at some other Glofo slides, they say Fab 2 is designed for 28/22nm, 28 seems like a likely starting point.

The building itself, should you want to make one, will cost about $4.2B fully equipped. It is expected to employ 1200 people directly and another 5000 indirectly, not a bad number in tough times, and they will have over 1.3 million square feet to play around in. Of this, over 300,000 SF is Class 100 clean room, so if you go, wear white. All this will be used for about 35,000 12 inch wafer starts a month.

If you are into trivia, the Fab 2 will use about 60,000 cubic yards of concrete, 75 miles of pipe, and take about 5 million man hours to complete. The site will be 72.4% green space, not bad for a modern office complex, and Friday’s will be casual dress day in the clean room.

So, three years in, we are at the point where there is (earth) movement. A little more than two more years from now, Glofo will be putting million-dollar pizza shaped things on trucks in the shipping dock. The soap opera phase of the project is over, time to get down to the hard work.S|A


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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate